More than two Dozens of national progressive groups are urging President Joe Biden and Democratic Senate leaders to fill every judicial vacancy this year before Republicans may take control of the Senate in November and make it much harder to fill Biden’s lifelong federal election. judges to confirm.
“As the number of announced judicial vacancies has risen to 119, we urge you to redouble your efforts in the final seven months of this Congress,” reads a June 21 letter from organizations such as Demand Justice, MoveOn and NARAL Pro- Choice America. “At the current rate, dozens of these vacancies will remain unfilled by the end of the year, and we urge you to do whatever it takes to fill them all.”
The courts are on track to have about 60 open positions by the end of this congress, the groups estimate.
It would be quite an achievement to fill all the vacancies in the courts this year. Biden, with the help of Senate Democrats, quickly confirmed judges — faster than decades of previous presidents. His judicial choices are also incredibly diverse, both in terms of demographics and professional backgrounds.
The progressive groups acknowledge that Biden’s pace of moving judges is “historically quite impressive.” But they also warn that all of this could change if Democrats lose their wafer-thin Senate majority in November’s midterm elections.
“We are painfully aware that if the Republican Party takes control of the Senate during this year’s midterm elections, progress in balancing the federal courts will stall,” they said. Senate Minority Leader McConnell has repeatedly made clear his plans to thwart him if given the chance to become majority leader in January — just as he hindered President Obama’s judicial nominees, leading to the fewest court confirmations since 1952.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here’s a copy of their letter, which was sent to Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) .
The groups sent their letter just days before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, something that wouldn’t have happened if Republicans hadn’t played hard in confirming Supreme Court nominees in recent years. Between taking the unprecedented step to block President Barack Obama’s candidate in 2016 and then breaking with the Senate tradition of rushing Amy Comey Barrett to court in late 2020, just before Biden won the election, Republicans arguably two court seats that should have been occupied by Democratic presidents.
These are the bad faith GOP tactics that are pushing progressive groups to call on Democrats to do more about judges now.
Chris Kang, chief counsel for Demand Justice and a former aide to the Obama White House who oversaw the judicial appointments, has separately issued a new memo outlining specific steps Democrats can take to prevent judicial vacancies at the next Congress. are left. He called on Durbin to hold more judicial committee hearings, including during the senate recess, and to place more judicial nominees on each panel when there is a hearing.
Here’s a copy of the memo from Demand Justice:
Spokespersons for Durbin and Schumer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.