McConnell is still trying to ram through more judges even after Trump lost


So much for giving the American people a 'voice.'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP Senate returned this week to their favorite pastime: confirming Donald Trump's judicial nominees to lifetime appointments.

The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm James Knepp II, Trump's selection for a judgeship in the Northern District of Ohio. McConnell had teed up the nomination before the election.

On Thursday, the Senate is set to consider Aileen Mercedes Cannon, Trump's nominee to be a federal judge for the Southern District of Florida.

But just four years ago, McConnell (R-KY) refused to even allow a hearing for a nominee put forward by former President Barack Obama in an election year, claiming he wanted to give the American people "their say."

In February 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia died, McConnell quickly announced that he would not allow the seat to be filled until the following year.

"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," he said on the day of Scalia's death. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

"Let's let the American people decide," he added at a press conference later that month.

After Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland in March, McConnell refused to allow Garland a hearing for the duration of the Obama administration, let alone a vote.

But now that a Republican is in the White House, McConnell has thrown that logic out the window and is trying to ram through as many conservative judges as possible in the waning days of the Trump administration — even after the American public has made its voice heard.

This comes despite the fact that Trump lost reelection by a wide margin last week. As of Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden held more than a 5 million-vote lead nationally over the incumbent, with more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

McConnell has refused to let the Senate take any action on hundreds of pieces of legislation passed in the House, including those in support of voting rights, LGBTQ nondiscrimination, protections for Dreamers, fair pay, gun background checks, and a minimum wage increase.

He has also refused to pass a substantial COVID-19 relief bill, despite record numbers of new cases and millions unemployed as a result. He said Tuesday: "I don't think the current situation demands a multitrillion-dollar package."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.