The Senate confirmed more than a dozen of President Donald Trump‘s judicial nominees this week, just hours before leaving for the Christmas recess.
The final confirmations for 2019 — one on Wednesday and 12 on Thursday — came as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has turned his attention to approving district court nominees, after filling nearly every circuit court vacancy, according to Politico.
The back-to-back days of nomination votes brings the total number of Trump court picks confirmed by the Senate to 187, including two Supreme Court nominees.
Senate Republicans have prioritized confirming Trump’s judicial nominees, including setting a record for the number of appeals judges confirmed during an administration’s first two years. Trump’s 50th circuit court nominee was confirmed last week.
However, McConnell has dedicated an increasing amount of floor time to the district court picks, as circuit court vacancies have been shored up. The Senate confirmed eight district court picks over the course of three days earlier this month, in addition to the 13 this week.
The rapid confirmation votes haven’t gone unnoticed by Democrats, who worry McConnell is using the chamber to stack the courts with young, conservative judges. Republicans changed the rules earlier this year so that district court judges only require two additional hours of debate after overcoming a procedural hurdle. Before the rules change, they faced up to an additional 30 hours of debate.
“He’s using his control of the floor and his majority to force votes on a series of judges,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, referring to McConnell, according to CNN. “He is determined to confirm as many judges as he possibly can. And we are insisting on a roll call vote on every one of them.”
Other Democrats complain that McConnell is monopolizing the Senate’s time with judicial picks at the expense of legislation.
“I wish we would do some legislation,” Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy told CNN. “They had passed over 300 pieces of legislation in the House. Most of it with strong bipartisan support. McConnell won’t even bring them up for a vote.”
The judicial push by Senate Republicans come at a time when many Democrats are focused on Trump’s impeachment process. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York met on Thursday for 20 minutes without reaching an agreement on how the Senate trial will be governed.
The 12 district court nominees confirmed on Thursday were Anuraag Singhal for the Southern District of Florida, Karen Marston for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Daniel Traynor for the District of North Dakota, Jodi Dishman for the Western District of Oklahoma, John Gallagher for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Bernard Jones for the Western District of Oklahoma, Mary Vyskocil for the Southern District of New York, Kea Riggs for the District of New Mexico, Robert Colville for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Lewis Liman for the Southern District of New York, Gary Brown for the Eastern District of New York and Stephanie Davis for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Matthew McFarland was confirmed to be a judge for the Southern District of Ohio on Wednesday.