Senate confirms 15 more judges, wrapping up a GOP priority

Modesto Morganelli
Ottobre 12, 2018

Republicans exacted a steep price from Democrats for an arrangement that will free up senators through Election Day: In a flurry of votes late Thursday, they pushed through 15 more judicial nominees, including three appeals court judges, on an expedited basis.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, listens to testimony from Christine Blasey Ford as chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with staff during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans thought they would finally overturn the law as the court had eight justices appointed by Republican presidents. That's because the GOP is defending only eight Senate seats in November, only two of which are somewhat close. Some Republicans seem ready to partially shutdown the government to fulfill one of President Donald Trump's most prominent campaign promises. Doug Ericksen's district and the open seat in the 26th, where Democrat Emily Randall and Republican Marty McClendon are vying to replace Angel.

Nearly immediately after the Senate vote, Democrats felt the chill from faraway North Dakota.

Republican Rep. J.T. Wilcox, who has been involved in fundraising for Republicans running in the House where more than a dozen seats are in play, said there's no question that he's anxious because "the national wind is blowing in our face".

Asked about Heitkamp missing votes to campaign, her spokeswoman Abigail McDonough took a shot at the House, where her GOP opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer, serves.

What the results don't yet do, unfortunately, is lend themselves especially well to an unambiguous narrative about whether the fight to confirm Kavanaugh has affected current enthusiasm about the midterm elections next month, let alone influenced their possible outcome. "Unfortunately, the House has only been in session for 10 days since the beginning of August, while the Senate has been working hard - a telling statistic about the politics and work ethic in the House this year".

"It's turned our base on fire", McConnell said about the battle, which he's called a political gift.

But Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat, said some of the nominees "are clearly controversial", meaning Democratic leaders had to balance their desire to get their candidates home with essentially allowing judges they oppose to advance. But even at that time, voters were considerably more likely to say Democrats in their state were focusing on health care, and Republicans on economic and immigration issues. The message to Republican voters: Democrats are employing radical tactics that are only growing worse. "That's why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that's when civility can start again."... "Right now, we do not have those votes and I think they understand that".

No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of IL said Thursday that his response to GOP accusations of Democratic mob tactics "is to say three words: 'Lock her up'".

"Mitch is going to do what Mitch is going to do", he said. "That's a decision I made a long time ago".

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