Republicans are pressuring judges to retire so they can pack the courts with extremists


Sens. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are urging judges to retire before the 2020 election.

In a sign Republicans are afraid they may lose control of the Senate in the 2020 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham are urging conservative judges thinking about retiring to do it now so that Trump can fill their seats, according to multiple reports.

"This is an historic opportunity," Graham told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday. "We've put over 200 federal judges on the bench. ... If you can get four more years, I mean, it would change the judiciary for several generations. So if you're a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that, if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center."

Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate have confirmed hundreds of federal judges since Trump took office in 2017, putting in place conservative extremists who can overturn and block progressive policies.

But if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins in November, and if Republicans lose their majority — which political handicappers say is a distinct possibility — the open seats would be left to be filled by the new administration.

McConnell has also urged federal judges to retire now.

McConnell has staked his legacy on reshaping the judiciary. And he's taken extreme measures to do it.

First, he helped block former President Barack Obama from appointing federal judges, leaving dozens of vacancies for Trump to fill when he took office, including his refusal to allow Senate hearings for Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.

Then McConnell changed Senate rules to prevent the Democratic minority from filibustering judicial nominees, and reducing the amount of time for debate on nominees to allow Republicans to confirm judges faster.

The result has been the confirmation of hundreds of Trump's extremist nominees, the vast majority of them white men, some of whom have been deemed "not qualified" by the American Bar Association or have made offensive and bigoted remarks.

McConnell even brought the Senate back to Washington, D.C., during the COVID-19 pandemic to confirm more judges.

Upon its return, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a nominee who made bigoted remarks about the LGBTQ community and opposes voting rights.

"My motto for the year is 'leave no vacancy behind,'" McConnell told Hewitt on April 22. "That hasnt changed. The pandemic will not prevent us from achieving that goal."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.