Credit McConnell for swift judgeship confirmations

Published 10:40 am Thursday, November 16, 2017

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell took a lot of heat in 2016 for not allowing a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But to McConnell’s credit, the Republican Senate majority leader from Kentucky stood his ground. He, like many Americans, feared Garland would alter a closely divided court. McConnell knew that if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, Garland would likely write decisions in support of big government at the expense of our individual liberties.

We applauded McConnell then for standing his ground against the national press corps and the Democratic Party, who viciously attacked him for not giving Garland an up-or-down vote. McConnell told the Daily News last Friday that last year’s Supreme Court gambit was “the single most consequential decision I’ve made in my political career.”

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McConnell said very clearly in 2016 that no one should be nominated to the high court in the midst of a presidential campaign. McConnell cited the “Biden rule,” referring to former U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, who in 1992 argued that then-President George H.W. Bush should delay filling a Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, until the presidential election was over, and that it was “essential” that the Senate refuse to confirm a nominee to the court until then.

There seemed to be a double standard from the national press and Democrats, who bad-mouthed McConnell for simply doing what Biden had also argued for during a presidential campaign.

Because McConnell stood his ground and because President Donald Trump was elected commander-in-chief, a more conservative nominee was put forth in current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is a very qualified man who knows the law and will adhere to the Constitution.

While McConnell was instrumental in helping get a conservative Supreme Court justice on the bench, he has also been successful in getting judges confirmed through the Senate to federal appeals courts. This is something McConnell should be applauded for.

Five of Trump’s judicial nominees were confirmed last week by the Senate for lifetime judgeships in the federal circuit court system, which is one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.

McConnell vowed at the beginning of last week to confirm the five nominees, who include Joan Larsen, a Michigan Supreme Court judge who will now serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which hears cases from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. Last week’s judicial confirmations, which received very few crossover votes from Democratic senators, follow four nominees who were confirmed earlier this year to federal circuit judgeships, including former Eastern Kentucky federal district judge and former prosecutor Amul Thapar and Louisville-based attorney John Bush.

McConnell got five of these judicial nominees confirmed to federal courts — four to circuit court and one to district — in one week.

In Obama’s first year with control of Congress he only got one Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, one appellate court justice and three district judges.

The difference in the number of judicial appointments confirmed in Congress shown under these presidents speaks volumes. McConnell hasn’t gotten nearly the credit he deserves for getting all of the judicial nominees confirmed in this short amount of time. We are very proud of McConnell for spearheading the effort to putting sound, conservative judges on our federal courts.

Daily News of Bowling Green