On Monday, POLITICO reported that the new threat by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to deny President Joe Biden any Supreme Court nominations if he regains control of the Senate in 2022 could backfire in a big way — by supercharging Democratic efforts to seat as many judges as possible before the midterms can take place.
"McConnell ... might be doing his opponents a favor," wrote Elana Schor. "That's because Democrats have spent springtime searching for a breakthrough on a long list of White House priorities, from infrastructure to policing to voting rights, with little success so far. The one front that Democratic senators seem to feel genuinely good about ... is their progress on judicial confirmations."
According to the report, "Democrats inherited fewer vacancies on the federal bench (82) than former President Donald Trump and McConnell did (112). But they're making decent headway so far, with 19 nominees tapped by President Joe Biden this year and several already confirmed, including the first Muslim in the federal judiciary, Zahid Quraishi of New Jersey." Sen Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who controlled the Judiciary Committee during the first part of the Trump administration, told POLITICO Democrats could "easily" match Trump's confirmation rate.
The big question, the report noted, is whether Biden will have a Supreme Court vacancy to fill before the midterms.
"If [Justice Stephen] Breyer can be coaxed to make the decision that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg didn't back in 2014, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson — confirmed tonight to Attorney General Merrick Garland's seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals — is waiting in the wings as a natural successor," said the report. "She'd be the first Black woman tapped for the nation's highest court, fulfilling a Biden campaign promise, if she's chosen."