The Senate majority leader is plowing forward after ramming through Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ensured another Donald Trump judicial nominee will get a vote following the presidential election.
Before the GOP majority adjourned the Senate on Monday for about a two-week election recess, following Justice Amy Coney Barrett's rushed confirmation to the Supreme Court on Monday night, McConnell set up a Senate vote for James Knepp II, chosen by Trump to serve the northern district of Ohio. The senators will return on Nov. 9, just days after the election, to vote on Knepp’s nomination.
The Senate is notably leaving Capitol Hill without completing negotiations on a critical COVID-19 relief bill.
McConnell has for the past two years refused to take up any serious legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House and has instead appeared to be singularly focused on stacking the courts with Trump’s judicial picks.
So far, a record 220 federal judges, 53 circuit court judges, 162 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International judges have been confirmed under Trump and McConnell. Adding to those figures are three confirmed Supreme Court justices, with Barret’s confirmation rammed through during a presidential election year.
McConnell hypocritically refused to hold a vote for former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick, Judge Merrick Garland, whose nomination sat untouched for 237 days back in 2016.
McConnell, who calls himself the "grim reaper" in the Senate, has blocked hundreds of bills passed by the House so far, including legislation on coronavirus aid, a ban on discrimination against LGBTQ people, voting rights, Dreamers, paycheck fairness, background checks for gun sales, climate change, violence against women, and a federal minimum wage increase.
The Senate majority leader has sat on a Democratic coronavirus relief bill passed by the House since May 15. A bill introduced by the GOP last month failed to pass the Senate and a new Republican-backed "skinny" bill similarly failed last week. Democrats said it did not go nearly far enough and lacked direct payments for Americans, millions of whom are suffering and out of work as a result of the pandemic.
McConnell's latest piecemeal relief bill proposed $500 billion in aid, a third of the $1.8 trillion Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin offered and a fraction of the $3 trillion Democrats sought.
Earlier this month, McConnell told reporters that he was uninterested in passing more than $500 billion in coronavirus relief.
Many of the Trump nominees who have been advanced under McConnell have been deemed not qualified, including Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who has reportedly never tried a civil or criminal case. She was nominated as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, on the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Mizelle is the 10th Trump pick given a "not qualified" rating by the American Bar Association.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.