McConnell schemes to give extremist judges lifetime appointments


He's willing to go nuclear to make it happen.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is edging ever nearer to another use of the nuclear option.

This time, McConnell is angry that Democrats are taking time to evaluate Trump's executive branch picks and federal district court judicial nominees.

So, he is pushing a resolution that drastically decreases how long the Senate can deliberate. Currently, the Senate can take up to 30 hours of debate time to consider nominees, but McConnell would like to chop that down to 2 hours.

Here's where the newest nuclear option comes in. To pass this resolution, McConnell needs 60 votes. It's highly unlikely that he'll get Democrats to cross the aisle for something that only benefits the GOP. Because of that, he's threatening to deploy the nuclear option and change the rules of the Senate so his resolution can pass with a simple majority.

McConnell says he has to do this because the Democrats are engaging in "unprecedented obstruction." First, by "obstruction" McConnell isn't even referring to the fact that the Democrats are able to stop Trump's nominees from taking their posts. Instead, he's mad that the Democrats have any power to delay votes and force deliberation on nominees.

It's positively enraging to hear Mitch McConnell, of all people, complain about obstruction when it comes to judicial picks. He famously stole a Supreme Court nomination from President Barack Obama by refusing even to hold a vote on Merrick Garland, Obama's choice to fill Antonin Scalia's seat.

And Garland wasn't the only time McConnell blocked Obama's judicial nominees. In fact, GOP obstruction was so bad during the Obama era that Trump had nearly twice as many judicial vacancies to fill as Obama did at the start of his presidency.

Of course, McConnell deployed the nuclear option when he rammed through the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch was far too conservative to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, so McConnell just changed the rules to require only a simple majority for Supreme Court nominations and Gorsuch got in with only 54 votes. He had to use that nuclear option again for Brett Kavanaugh, who still barely managed to get confirmed.

McConnell isn't interested in building coalitions or following rules. He's interested in power for power's sake. He has no intention of ever honestly examining whether a nominee is qualified. He sees his role as limited to blocking things Democrats want and propping up the current administration. In short, he's the perfect GOP Senate majority leader for the Trump era.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.