Mitch McConnell confirms his protege to powerful DC court as Americans wait for pandemic relief
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at CPAC in 2013. Image: Gage Skidmore/flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Thursday, Politico reported that the Senate has confirmed Justin Walker, long considered a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to the powerful D.C. Court of Appeals.

"In a 51-42 vote, Walker was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit," reported Marianne Levine. "Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only Republican to join Senate Democrats in voting against his nomination."

Walker, a far-right lawyer, previously served in a Kentucky district court, a position to which President Donald Trump had nominated him despite at the time never having tried a case.

One of Walker's most notable actions on that court was to strike down an order from the mayor of Louisville restricting Easter church services amid the coronavirus pandemic, in a scathing opinion that claimed the mayor "criminalized" Easter and called the order something out of the "pages of a dystopian novel."

McConnell's devotion to continuing to appoint judges comes as the coronavirus stimulus funds and unemployment benefits dry up, and Senate Republicans are resisting calls to authorize another round. McConnell has indicated he will not take up the issue until late July at the earliest.