Republican senators will work through New Year’s Eve to confirm all of President Trump’s pending judicial nominees before the end of the year if Democrats try to obstruct the confirmation votes, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, has made remaking the federal bench with a conservative bent a priority, and has more than 40 judicial nominees awaiting floor votes.
Before leaving Capitol Hill prior to the midterms, Republicans vowed to get them all confirmed during the lame-duck session before the incoming Congress begins in January.
“I know that Sen. McConnell has made a commitment that we’re not going to leave any judges behind over these next two months,” the Arkansas Republican told conservative host Hugh Hewitt.
He said Democrats have shown unprecedented obstruction, demanding the maximum amount of floor time to debate the president’s judicial picks.
“So it’s really up to them whether they want to confirm those on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, or whether they want to confirm them earlier in December by yielding back the time,” Mr. Cotton said.
It’s not clear how much is possible.
Republicans and Democrats have been striking deals this year to go on vacation but before leaving confirming as many nominees as would have been approved had the Senate remained in session.
For example, before leaving Washington a month ago before the midterm elections, GOP leaders struck a deal with Democrats to confirm 15 judicial nominees.
While the Senate was away, the Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for 10 more judicial nominees over objections from Democrats.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, sent a letter to Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, Tuesday demanding a second hearing for them.
No Democrats and fewer than three GOP members of the committee appeared at the hearings where three circuit court picks were considered.
“Every other Senate committee that had previously scheduled hearings when the Senate went into recess postponed their hearings. And, as you know, holding nominations hearings during a recess had never been done before in this committee without the consent of the minority,” Ms. Feinstein said in her letter.