With Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the helm, the Senate “confirmed eight federal judges in just three days” last week, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
The news came the same day that news broke of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had served on the bench since being appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, according to Fox News. She was 87.
Ginsburg’s death brings Donald Trump the third opportunity of his presidency to nominate a new justice to the highest court in the land. And if their work over the last week is any indication, it seems Trump has McConnell and Senate Republicans’ full backing.
Trump shapes the courts
According to the Washington Examiner, the latest confirmations from McConnell’s Senate bring the total of Trump-appointed federal judges up to a whopping 216. The eight new appointees will sit on courts in California and Illinois.
Across the nation, Trump had appointed nearly a quarter of those currently serving on the federal bench by July of this year, according to an article from Pew Research Center.
Thirty-nine percent of current federal judges were appointed by former President Barack Obama during his two terms in office, Pew noted. Obama also appointed two justices who both still sit on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Trump, for his part, has thus far seen two SCOTUS confirmations: during his first year in office, Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in to the high court in October 2018 after what The New York Times described as a “rancorous” confirmation battle.
“Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make,” President Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this month when he released a new list of names he planned to consider if given the chance to nominate a new justice during his second term.
But with the tragic death of Ginsburg, it seems Trump may get the chance to fill a role on the SCOTUS bench sooner than that.
“Nothing is off the table”
McConnell has promised that he will move forward with any nominations made by President Trump, regardless of how close we are to November’s election.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” the Senate majority leader said in a statement shared to his Twitter account on Friday. McConnell has already been met with vitriolic opposition from Democrats, however.
“Let me be clear: if Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared Saturday, according to Politico. “Nothing is off the table.”