Don’t discount the constant conflict over President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees as being par for the partisan course, just more of what both parties do to each other. What we’re seeing from the Democrats now is far from the norm.
The confirmation facts speak for themselves.
From President George Washington through President Barack Obama, the Senate confirmed nearly 3,800 judges to the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court. Only six percent of them had so much as a single vote cast against them in the Senate confirmation process.
But that was then; this is Trump.
Fully 70 percent of those nominated to the federal bench by President Trump have faced opposition from Senate Democrats. Putting it another way, in well over two centuries of American history, nearly half (43 percent) of all Senate votes cast against judicial nominees have come in the last 33 months.
This massive opposition is no reflection on the quality of nominees being put forward by the president. A higher percentage of Trump than Obama nominees, for example, have received a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. This despite multiple studies showing that the ABA is systematically biased against Republican nominees.
Opposition to Trump nominees is so broad and so deep that it defies any common-sense explanation. In fact, Senate Democrats today are treating Trump nominees radically different than Democrats have treated Republican nominees in the past.
Since the turn of the 20th century through the Obama administration, the average Democratic senator voted against just 1.2 percent of the judicial nominees presented by Republican presidents. Democrat opposition during the Trump era is 38 TIMES higher.
The Left has weaponized the process, ignoring nominees’ qualifications and focusing on their single common characteristic: the president who nominated them.
This opposition is extravagant even by 21st-century standards. Consider this: 10 current Senate Democrats also served during the first three years of the George W. Bush administration. On average, those 10 senators voted against 3.6 percent of Bush’s judicial nominees, yet they have opposed nearly half (48.6 percent) of Trump’s nominees.
This wall of opposition that is radically different than either party has built in the past.
The judicial confirmation process has gotten so twisted, so fast, that the Left is starting to eat its own. Freshman Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), for example, has already been attacked by progressives for supporting too many Trump judicial nominees. Yet one-third of her judicial confirmation votes this year have been NO.
To put that in perspective, it took the 10 longest-serving senators in American history a combined total of 135 years to cast as many votes against judicial nominees as Sinema has cast in less than one. Still, it’s not enough to satisfy the left.
Historically, the confirmation process generally followed a consistent pattern, no matter which party controlled the Senate or occupied the White House. Since the Constitution gives the power to appoint judges to the president, most nominees were evaluated efficiently and confirmed with little or no opposition. The few controversies over individual nominees were handled on a different track.
No more. Today, the Left has weaponized the entire process, ignoring nominees’ qualifications and focusing on their single common characteristic: the president who nominated them. This is an abuse of the system, one that tramples the cause of justice in the pursuit of power.