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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Mitch McConnell court

While President Trump is draining the swamp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is re-shaping the federal judiciary.

Fred Barnes -- a reporter's reporter -- explained that McConnell is going all-in on getting Trump's nominees through. McConnell is bending the rules and writing new ones to get the job done.

The first rule he bent was not giving Obama's last nominee for the Supreme Court the time of day.

By holding that seat open, McConnell likely pushed enough conservatives to hold their noses and vote for Trump to elect him.

Yes, there was precedent.

But McConnell made the call. Immediately. Before Obama nominated anyone.

How does that decision work?

Federal judges enjoined the Donald's 120-day travel restrictions. Remember? The  Fake News called it a "Muslim ban," but it was anything but.

The Supremes in June lifted the injunctions and agreed to hear the case -- in 121 days. This meant it was a moot point when the case got to the justices. Case dismissed.

Chief Justice John Roberts could not have done that without a conservative majority.

The reason the court delayed the hearing was that it does not want to hear the case because it treads on the presidential authority as commander-in-chief. Conservative courts tread softly. Marxist ones seize the power.

But appointing Justice Neil Gorsuch is just the start.

From Barnes:
Here’s what McConnell has done:
* Confirming judicial nominees has been elevated to a top priority in the Senate. “I decide the priority,” McConnell said in an interview. “Priority between an assistant secretary of State and a conservative court judge — it’s not a hard choice to make.”
And when nominees “come out of committee, I guarantee they will be dealt with,” McConnell said. “Regardless of what tactics are used by Democrats, the judges are going to be confirmed.”
* No longer will “blue slips” be allowed to deny a nominee a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation. In the past, senators have sometimes barred a nominee from their state by refusing to return their slip to the committee, thus preventing a hearing and confirmation.
“The majority” — that is, Republicans — will treat a blue slip “as simply notification of how you’re going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball,” McConnell told me. The use of blue slips, he noted, is not a Senate rule and has “been honored in the breach over the years.” Now it won’t be honored at all.
* The so-called “30 hours rule” — which provides for 30 hours of debate on a nominee—won’t be overturned. But McConnell vowed to set aside time for these debates. And he can make this happen because he sets the Senate schedule.
The rules of the game have changed because suddenly district judgeships no longer are patronage jobs but ideological chess pieces. When some rat in Hawaii can veto a presidential executive order, the judiciary has grown way too powerful.

McConnell is herding cats in the Senate. He has to pick his battles with rodents like Flake and McCain roaming the chambers. (Can we rescind Arizona's statehood?)


This is the most important battle because Trump can control Obamacare through executive orders. He can roll back regulations. He can even build a wall along our Mexican border.

But he cannot fix the judiciary without the Senate.

History will not call it the Mitch McConnell court.

I will.


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  1. Fine, but he only went half way. He is still allowing 30 hrs of comments per nominee. That is ridiculous. Dems of course will take advantage of the no time constraints.

    1. I understand this. My take is different. When you have a thin majority, and prominent members of that majority are known to buck things, going slow can be useful. Useful because (1) the changes are not coming so fast that they will be rejected outright out of fear; (2) you are making a case for change by showing the need, as every delay by the other party assists you; the slow pace of the change does not draw more attention from the Middle School Media, allowing it to proceed.

      Many people have complained about how the Left has used incrementalism, the "frog in the pot of slowly heating water" to get what the Left wants. Then I think we should not complain if the same is being done here. Perhaps we will all be able to look around at 2020 and wonder how we got to this point where what *we* want is just a short, reasonable, slide of the Overton Window over there - and you don't want to stand in the way of progress, do you?*

      *Confidence is persuasive all by its self.

      -Mikey NTH

    2. I just read an article at Drudge about the Capitol's pharmacological supplier. It reports that some of the prescriptions delivered are for Alzheimer's disease. I wonder who could be receiving those prescriptions? - Elric

  2. He's only gotten 7 of Trump's judicial nominees through - less than 1 per month.

    I'm not impressed.

  3. “Priority between an assistant secretary of State and a conservative court judge — it’s not a hard choice to make.”

    Then don't make it. We want both. Yesterday.

    Put it in gear, sir. NOW.

  4. And then Grassley spoke and said he'd handle it his way - which is to accept some holds and ignore others.

    What could go wrong?

  5. The Gorsuch appointment is McConnell's only achievement. I withhold judgement on how this will work out.

  6. Don I don't think I can agree with you on this one. On Sept 28th Pres Trump announced his eighth wave of judicial nominations with 9 nominees.
    He has announced avg 10 nominees a month. That is 80 so far at 30 hours each that is 2400 hours and if the Senate worked 10 hours a day that equals 240 days to get them approved. So far there have been only a few approved since Pres Trump took office. Then there are the nominations for marshalls and so on. Pres Trump is doing his job, McConnell is not doing his. Yes he did hold up the one nomination before Trump was elected. But since then, nada. Could his sudden PR job have something to do with the Moore defeat? And rumblings from some donors? CDM

  7. IDK Don... This Barnes article seems timed to fluff up McConnell, who has been less than helpful ( to our knowledge ) on judge appointments and pressuring his cats. Why are the Maine sisters not booted from any of their committees? Why Is Murkouski allowed any committee seats? Play hardball. Get in line and vote with the President or lose your cushy chairmanship or sweatheart committee assignment. I don't trust McConnell. I need to see more action and less puff.

    1. I agree. I hope Don is right but this appears to try and prop up Mitch after his very, very bad week. He's been getting his brains beat out on the internet right side.

  8. Well, I like outside the box thinking. Big D's take on this is definitely outside the box. Must ponder.

  9. We'll see. McConnell has not been very productive so far. There are rumors of an move to challenge his leadership position. I'm guessing that is what prompted this sudden pledge to get off his ass.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  10. But McConnell is one of the head swamp rats! Barnes is just trying make him pretty by applying some lipstick. What has McConnell done about Obamacare? Immigration? Taxes? Nothing except get in the way.

  11. Mitch is still an obstructionist. As mentioned, a Judge every once in a while. No tax relief, no Obamacare repeal, and most importantly no Wall. But hey, let's race give amnesty to the DACA criminals, their parents, and 3rd world families back home. He's an idiot.