Senate scrutiny guarantees many more judges for Democrats

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The Senate’s steady confirmation of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees will take two more years after Democrats hold the chamber on Saturday.

With control of the House uncertain but Republicans still favored, the legislative agenda for the next Congress remains in the air. But the Senate outcome offers Democrats at least one guarantee: that they can unilaterally confirm the judges and executive nominees.

In the midterm elections with Republicans preferring to win the House, judges were a top prize that came with winning the Senate. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made it clear that if Republicans took back the majority, the Senate would no longer be a “rubber stamp” for Biden’s judges. And after blocking Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016, McConnell declined to say whether he would consider running for Biden’s Supreme Court next year.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that the Senate would continue its momentum for judges.

“Senate Democrats are committed to rebalancing the federal judiciary with professional and personally diverse judges,” he said in a statement. “With two more years of Democratic majority in the Senate, we will build on our historic pace of court confirmations and make the federal bank more reflective of America’s diversity.”

The pace of Biden’s judicial confirmation was largely comparable to that of former President Donald Trump. Democrats have so far confirmed 84 judges, 57 judicial nominees pending, and 117 announced job openings. Now the party doesn’t have to scramble to confirm more Biden judges at the upcoming lame duck session.

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Democrats advance to the second round of the Georgia Senate in December and no longer need to win to gain the majority. But having 51 seats — instead of two more years of a 50-50 Senate — would make a significant difference. That even split of the past two years required Democrats to maintain a perfect turnout to meet their signature party-line priorities and ensure confirmation of Biden’s nominees.

The worn-out 50-50 majority also meant that committees had an even number of Democrats and Republicans, requiring the GOP’s presence to advance the nominees and forcing Democrats to take additional procedural steps on the Senate floor if a committee stalled on a nomination. If Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) retains his seat in Georgia, Democrats with a majority will be able to remove the nominees from the committee.

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The extra seat would also fill the majority of Democrats before 2024, where they face a tougher map.

sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) was relieved that the party is guaranteed to remain in Democratic hands, with or without Georgia.

“It means we can confirm judges and other Biden nominees. It means we can continue to work on the climate,” he said. “It means at least one room is run by adults.”

Post-Senate Control Guarantees Many More Judges for Democrats appeared first on Politico .