NewsAs Election Looms, Biden Struggles To Match Trump's Judicial Appointments

As Election Looms, Biden Struggles To Match Trump’s Judicial Appointments

by BLACK ENTERPRISE Editors

Progressive advocates fret President Biden may fall short of appointing as many judges as former President Donald Trump.

Originally Reported by Reuters 

Dec 26 (Reuters) – The White House is gearing up for what could be President Joe Biden’s last chance to put his stamp on the judiciary, as progressive advocates fret that he may fall short of appointing as many judges as former President Donald Trump did over his four-year term.

Russ Feingold, a Democratic former U.S. senator and leader of the liberal American Constitution Society, said that slower pace has put Biden’s ability to continue to appoint diverse judges to the bench at risk as an election looms that will decide whether he gets a second term and Democrats retain control of the Senate.

“Now we’re looking at a situation where if either the presidency switches or the Senate switches, most of this progress probably will be stopped or greatly stifled,” he said.
WHY IT MATTERS

“Now we’re looking at a situation where if either the presidency switches or the Senate switches, most of this progress probably will be stopped or greatly stifled,” he said.

He has frequently nominated civil rights lawyers and public defenders to the bench, as Democrats aim to counterbalance the conservative influence of Trump’s 234 judicial appointees.

“All year long, this Senate majority has prioritized confirming judges who add to the bench’s personal and professional diversity, and we’re going to continue going into the new year,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Dec. 11.

For several months, the Senate Judiciary Committee struggled to process nominees amid the absence of an ailing panel member, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who died in September.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR 2024

So, he could, in theory at least, still match Trump’s four-year total.
But 22 of the vacancies are in states with one or two Republican senators, who thanks to a Senate custom known as the “blue slip” have the ability to effectively veto nominees from their states they do not approve of and hold seats open for a potential Republican president.
“There’s plenty of vacancies, but will he be able to nominate in red states?,” said Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial nominations. “That’s the big question.”
Progressive groups have urged Senator Dick Durbin, the Judiciary Committee’s current Democratic chairman from Illinois, to abandon the “blue slip” custom, which they say has hindered Biden’s ability to appoint judges in conservative-leaning states and much of the South.
Leah Litman, a University of Michigan Law School professor who co-hosts the liberal legal podcast “Strict Scrutiny,” said Biden’s inability to nominate judges in those states will ensure Republican lawmakers can “do whatever it is they want” without concern courts will block laws they enact.
“We have seen the effect that Republican blockades for district courts has had,” she said.
She pointed to Texas, where Trump was able to fill multiple vacancies with conservative judges who have often been sympathetic to challenges to Biden policies. One, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, suspended approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. It remains available pending U.S. Supreme Court review.
Durbin has acknowledged “some judicial vacancies in states with Republican senators have languished for months on end,” but he has stood by the tradition and encouraged Republicans to demonstrate they can compromise with the White House.

Source: Black Enterprise

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