On Saturday, Politico reported that every Senate Democrat running for president has taken a hard line against President Donald Trump's judicial nominees — voting to confirm vastly fewer of them than previously.
According to the liberal judicial group Demand Justice, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have voted against every single judge since the start of 2019, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has supported only 3 percent, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) only 6 percent, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) only 11 percent. By contrast, in the last session of Congress, Klobuchar confirmed 64 percent of judges, Harris 51 percent, and Booker 49 percent.
Trump has been nominating judges to federal vacancies at a breakneck pace, helped along by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocking any confirmation of dozens of seats under President Barack Obama and a pipeline of candidates from the right-wing Federalist Society. While some of these judges have been fairly ordinary, many hold extreme views on everything from campaign finance to abortion rights.
In the previous session of Congress, Democrats rallied hard against particularly high-profile judges like Brett Kavanaugh, but behind the scenes, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was willing to let several of the relatively less controversial nominees through in return for various concessions from Republican leadership. Now, with the 2020 election drawing closer, it appears that Democrats — at least those running for president — are no longer willing to make such compromises.
Democrats are likely to have a more difficult time than ever actually blocking judges from being confirmed, however, as the new session saw the Republican Senate majority grow from 51-49 to 53-47, and Republicans now control an extra seat on the Judiciary Committee.