More Judges as Dems Regain Control of Senate (Newsmax)
By Brian Pfail | Sunday, 13 November 2022 12:00 PM EST
The Senate will continue a steady confirmation of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees after Democrats retained the chamber Saturday.
The control of the House remains uncertain, although Republicans are still favored with the legislative agenda for the next Congress in limbo. But as for the Senate, it provides the guarantee that Democrats will unilaterally confirm Biden’s judges and executive branch nominees.
The Republicans were favored to win the House, and judges were a top priority in a victory for the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said there would no longer be a “rubber stamp” for Biden judges. McConnell had blocked former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, who now serves as U.S. Attorney General.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer assured the Senate would push for Democrat judges.
“Senate Democrats have been committed to restoring balance to the federal judiciary with professionally and personally diverse judges,” he said in a statement. “With two more years of a Senate Democratic majority, we will build on our historic pace of judicial confirmations and ensure the federal bench better reflects the diversity of America.”
Biden’s pace of judicial confirmation has been on par with former President Donald Trump, with 84 confirmed, 57 nominees pending and 117 announced vacancies.
The run-off in Georgia will have no impact, as Democrats have acquired 51 seats in the Senate, although it will require all to show up in attendance. If Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., keeps his seat in Georgia, Democrats can move nominees out of committee with a majority.
“There’s a big difference between a 50-50 Senate and a 51-49 Senate for the functionality of the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee,” said Sen. Chris Coon, D-Del. “Simply having control of the Senate means we have the ability to continue moving forward the personnel who will represent us and shape our laws.”
The Senate majority will allow Biden to move treaties. The extra seat would also pad Democrats’ majority into 2024 after they face a more challenging map. It also means fewer oversight hearings.
If Republicans take the House, the Senate can unilaterally block party-line bills.
The Democrat majority will play a role in determining how the party handles the upcoming lame-duck session, like the end-of-the-year spending package.
In a New York Times op-ed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for raising the debt ceiling to “block Republicans from taking our economy hostage next year.” She added, “Democrats should be aggressive in putting Republicans on the defensive, pressing hard on why they are blocking much-needed initiatives to help Americans.”
Coons predicted much of this, saying, “2024 politics are very quickly going to get in the way of getting big things done.” The Senate needs to address “basic issues like the debt ceiling and appropriating enough to sustain Ukraine in the short term.”