Late Thursday evening, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) agreed to a compromise deal with the chamber’s Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) that would allow 15 conservative nominees to assume federal court appointments made by President Donald Trump.
Democrats will not aim to obstruct the votes on these 15 nominees, and in return, McConnell will agree to allow a recess for all Senators to commence, granting vulnerable Democratic lawmakers in red states the chance to go home and campaign before the midterm elections, reported Politico on Thursday evening.
The deal on paper sounds like one that favors Republicans more than Democrats. But Schumer and other leaders believe these 15 judges would have been confirmed no matter what.
Senate rules allow Democrats to delay each individual judge for 30 hours at a time. But after the expiration of this “debate” period, a full vote in the chamber would commence, allowing the Republican-led Senate to pass each one before November 1 at the earliest. Meanwhile, Democratic senators would have to remain in Washington to continue the delay tactics.
“If we stayed here for two or three weeks, we’d probably have done the same thing,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) explained. “I think it’s good.”
But liberal organizations disagreed with Tester’s assessment, arguing that the judges that to be confirmed will continue issuing hard-right opinions that will hurt Americans. These groups also cited the painful outcome of the confirmation of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and some questioned whether Schumer should remain in his leadership role past November.
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) October 11, 2018
“There is no reason Democrats should be making any deals with Mitch McConnell to make it easier to confirm more radical conservatives to the courts. Especially not after Kavanaugh,” co-executive director of Indivisible Leah Greenberg said, according to reporting from the Hill.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, also saw the deal as a negative outcome.
“Immediately following Kavanaugh’s confirmation and all of the energy and despair around it, this deal is especially painful,” Hogue said.
She added that she was confident that voters in November would turn out to prevent such confirmations in the years ahead.
“Based on the incredible amount of energy we just witnessed around court appointments, the GOP should be prepared to pay the price in November,” Hogue added.