15 more judges con­firmed by Se­nate

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - LISA MAS­CARO AND ALAN FRAM

WASH­ING­TON — The Se­nate con­firmed 15 more judges late Thurs­day and left town un­til af­ter next month’s midterm elec­tions, chalk­ing up more Repub­li­can wins days af­ter Brett Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion to the Supreme Court.

Clear­ing the ju­di­cial nom­i­nees pro­vided a sig­na­ture walk-off for Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., who has fo­cused on re­shap­ing the ju­di­ciary with more con­ser­va­tive jurists.

With the House al­ready gone, the next time Congress con­ducts busi­ness will be af­ter Elec­tion Day, Nov. 6. When law­mak­ers re­turn the next week, the na­tion will know whether Repub­li­cans were able to re­tain their con­trol of both cham­bers for next two years.

While many of the judges were ap­proved with bi­par­ti­san sup­port, al­most half were con­firmed on mostly party-line votes. Demo­cratic op­po­nents and their al­lies swiftly ob­jected to some of the nom­i­nees, in large part over views aligned with stricter abortion ac­cess.

“Make no mis­take, to­day was yet an­other step in the GOP’s takeover of our courts, stack­ing the deck against women and fam­i­lies at ev­ery level,” Il­yse Hogue, pres­i­dent of NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica, said af­ter the votes. She said the back-to-back votes com­ing so soon af­ter Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion were es­pe­cially painful.

Sin­gled out for op­po­si­tion were David Porter, who was con­firmed as a cir­cuit court judge in Penn­syl­va­nia over the ob­jec­tion of that state’s Demo­cratic Sen. Bob Casey, and Mark Nor­ris, con­firmed as a dis­trict court judge for the Western dis­trict of Ten­nessee.

Un­der­scor­ing lib­eral anger over Trump’s con­ser­va­tive ju­di­cial nom­i­nees, Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way crit­i­cized them as “ide­o­log­i­cal ex­trem­ists and nar­row minded elit­ists.”

The group also chided Democrats for not de­lay­ing the votes, say­ing, “Al­low­ing these con­fir­ma­tions to be rushed through as sen­a­tors head out of town does a dis­ser­vice to our democ­racy and the rule of law.”

Among the hand­ful of sen­a­tors who missed the day’s votes were Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Bill Nel­son of Florida, who face tough re-elec­tion races, and Florida Repub­li­can Marco Ru­bio. Florida was bat­tered this week by Hur­ri­cane Michael.

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