Yesterday Politico reported that Senate Democrats have accepted an offer Thursday from Senate Republicans to confirm 15 lifetime federal judges in exchange for the ability to go into recess through the midterms, allowing endangered Democrats to campaign.
This was not the result of anyone’s great negotiating skills–this was the acknowledgement of a practical fact–the Democrats wanted time to go home and campaign.
The article explains:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be able to confirm roughly 15 judges if he kept the Senate in session for the next few weeks anyway. So Democrats OK’d an offer to confirm three Circuit Court judges and 12 Circuit Court judges as the price to pay to go home for election season.
Under Senate rules, even if Democrats fought the nominees tooth and nail and forced the Senate to burn 30 hours of debate between each one, McConnell would have gotten them all confirmed by Nov. 1. Democrats could have conceivably left a skeleton crew of senators in Washington to force the GOP to take roll call votes on the judges over the next few weeks, although that tactic is not typically employed by the minority.
The article reminds us:
McConnell and President Donald Trump will now have confirmed 84 judges over the past two years, including two Supreme Court nominees, after the deal. Democrats also allowed a package of judges to be confirmed in August as a condition of going home.
This is important because the Democrats have used to courts to get laws passed (which is not actually the duty of the courts) that they could not get through Congress. Changing the composition of the courts may slow down that process and bring us closer to the government our Founding Fathers envisioned.