An under-reported success of President Donald Trump’s administration has been his ability to earn the confirmations of a plethora of conservative-leaning judges to fill federal court vacancies across the country.
But the Democrats aren’t happy about it — and they’re blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, even going so far as to hit him with accusations of “court-packing.”
Packing the courts?
The Washington Examiner reported that Senate Democrats are purposely mischaracterizing what McConnell has done with regard to judicial nominees in a bad faith effort to lay the groundwork for their proposed court-packing scheme.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the arm of the Democratic Party focused on regaining a majority in the Senate, recently tweeted a blatant and repeated lie, alleging that “Mitch McConnell’s court-packing agenda” is to “confirm extreme right-wing judicial nominees as quickly as possible.”
But none of that is really true at all. First, any judicial nominee that is centrist to even slightly right is considered “extreme right-wing” by the left these days, and Democratic obstruction efforts have made the confirmation process incredibly grueling and lengthy.
But perhaps most importantly, McConnell isn’t “court-packing” at all, as he and President Trump have merely been attempting to fill vacant seats on various courts.
Court-packing is when the number of judges on a particular court is suddenly expanded, and the newly created positions are filled by the party that holds power to achieve an ideological majority that otherwise wouldn’t be achievable — exactly what the left has been talking openly about doing with liberal judges if and when they regain the requisite power.
Trump and McConnell have shifted the ideological balance and achieved conservative majorities on some courts, but that was done through the relatively normal processes of the Senate to fill vacancies — and they’ve faced Democratic roadblocks at every step of the way.
The “Nuclear Option”
To be sure, McConnell has changed some of the Senate rules regarding the confirmation process to try and sidestep the Democratic obstruction where possible — most recently by limiting time for debates on nominees — but Democrats can only blame former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for setting the precedent for such rule changes with his “nuclear option” in 2013 that got that ball rolling with rule changes for the confirmation process.
The left is still mad over the failure to get Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland confirmed in 2016, but again, McConnell relied on a rule originally devised by former Democratic Delaware Sen. Joe Biden to refrain from confirming a Supreme Court nominee in an election year.
In the end, the left remains sore over losing the 2016 election and want to pack the courts as an act of revenge when they assume power once more.
These lies about McConnell “packing the courts” are merely an effort to create a false premise that they can bank on as justification in the future for their ignoble plans with regard to the courts.