Posted by Curt on 7 November, 2018 at 8:25 am. 1 comment.


From the narrow perspective of judicial confirmations, yesterday’s elections were a huge success.

Senate Republicans appear to have increased their margin of control from 51-49 to 55-45. Even if the margin turns out to be 54-46, those additional seats provide a lot of space in the event that there is another Supreme Court vacancy over the next two years. Simply put, it ought to be an easy matter to confirm another outstanding judicial conservative (or two) to the Court.

That increased margin, of course, also will make it easier to confirm lower-court judges. That in turn might lead to additional vacancies, as some retirement-eligible judges might decide that now is a good time to take senior status.

The increased margin in the next Congress also makes it more likely that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell will be able to get some 50 or 60 additional judicial nominees confirmed in the closing weeks of this year. How much of an incentive, after all, do Senate Democrats have to try to delay these confirmations, and how much leverage do they have left?

If, as now seems to be the case, Jon Tester ends up losing his Montana seat to Matt Rosendale, that would mean that all the red-state Democrats who voted against the Kavanaugh nomination (Donnelly, Heitkamp, McCaskill, Nelson, Tester) will have been voted out of office, while the one red-state Democrat who voted for Kavanaugh (Joe Manchin) was re-elected.

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