After ten months since President Trump has taken office, the Senate Republicans have finally gotten serious about confirming his judicial nominees. This year, the Senate was only working an average of two and a half days per week. They had previously scrapped the filibuster to allow for an easier route to confirmation, but we did not see a quicker pace emerge from that action. Although Democrats were misusing their ability to use blue slips, some had been withdrawn. Senate Republicans were letting the Democrat’s obstructionism slow them down.
As calls, emails, and tweets began flooding the Senate to express disappointment in this process, Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) heard the message loud and clear. Last week, he made a promise to the American people by saying, “We will confirm these nominees. You can count on it.” Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) followed those sentiments this week by saying, “I applaud the Majority Leader for committing to what it takes to confirm these nominees including, if necessary, working through the weekend to get it done.” They both harshly condemned the Democrats’ unnecessary tactics in slowing down this process but made clear that these nominees will be confirmed by any means necessary.
Working hours have lengthened substantially and we have seen more confirmations as a result. In about a seven-day period, the Senate plans to confirm five judges, including four circuit court judges. If they stay on track, they will have confirmed more circuit court judges than President Obama did in his first year.