GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa urged the Senate to work through weekends and the August recess on Friday to continue processing President Donald Trump’s nominees to the federal courts.
Grassley, who leads the Republican judicial confirmation effort from his perch as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that Democratic obstruction warranted recourse to unconventional measures.
Senate Judic Cmte has been hard at work processing judges to fill the 147 judicial vacancies At evry turn it seems we are met w Democrat filibusters Lets work Friday/Saturday/August recess to get more done in the Senate & help the judicial branch do its job
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 1, 2018
Although 2017 saw Trump and congressional allies set a record for appeals court confirmations in the first year of a presidential term, Senate Republicans now must manage a burgeoning pool of nominees, who languish for months at a time between confirmation hearings and final approval on the Senate floor.
One appeals court nominee, Mark Bennett for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been waiting on a confirmation vote since Feb. 15. Bennett was approved 18–2 and is not expected to draw Democratic opposition. Several dozen district court nominees are similarly situated. (RELATED: Appeals Court Upholds ‘In God We Trust’ On U.S. Currency)
Senate Democrats have aggressively leveraged procedural mechanisms to slow the pace of confirmations, forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to limit the amount of Senate time expended on judgeships. Judiciary committee Democrats regularly exercise their prerogative to delay consideration of nominees by one week, while Democratic leadership has forced time-consuming cloture votes on many circuit court nominees, even those confirmed with bipartisan support.
In one instance, Democrats forced cloture on the nomination of Donald Coggins Jr. to the federal trial court in South Carolina. Coggins was originally nominated to the post by former President Barack Obama. He was confirmed on a 96–0 vote.
A coalition of 16 Republican senators sent McConnell a letter pressing him to cancel the August recess and move on key elements of Trump’s agenda, including judicial nominees, on May 11. Grassley was not among the signatories.
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