U.S Senate Makes Pre-Christmas Power Move & Stops Trump Judge Nominations

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We are rapidly approaching January 2019, when Democrats will officially assume their position as the majority party in the U.S. House — and the party’s already proving itself as intent as ever on blocking the Republican (and more specifically, Trump-ian) agenda.

A Senate Democratic aide has asserted that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will not agree to a year-end package of judicial nominations just to get them out of the way.

Schumer himself has only commented to insist that he’s not yet entered into any negotiations with his Republican colleagues over the judicial nominations package, which this time around includes an apparent 31 judges.

Although there’s little immediate official confirmation of this, tensions have been building this direction for quite some time.

Just recently, a Texas judge who’d been confirmed by the relatively unnuanced voice vote process ruled that the entirety of the years-old Affordable Care Act should be thrown out, and although the case faces inevitable appeals, that’s an obviously hardly inconsequential ruling. Millions of people’s health care is at risk — symbolizing exactly why there’s barely a place for Democrats to turn a blind eye to any judges.

Former national press secretary for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign Brian Fallon noted that judges appointed under President Donald Trump could have an even more wildly partisan bent than those appointed during the George W. Bush era, when Texas’ ACA-opposed Reed O’Connor took his seat.

As he put it:

‘Especially in light of the Texas judge’s ruling last week ruling ObamaCare unconstitutional, it would be insane to continue to give a free pass to lower-court judges that are ideologically extreme… The sort of politicized ruling that we saw last week is going to be more the norm with these Trump judges.’

As he indicated, there’s an obvious political stench to O’Connor’s ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court itself has previously declared the ACA constitutional in response to questions about the very same issue the Texas judge took up — the so-called “individual mandate” — although these days getting a similar outcome might be more difficult thanks to the two Republicans President Donald Trump has put on the court.

There’s another issue driving Democrats towards refusing to approve packages of nominations, too — Republicans’ own insistence on railroading their agenda through. In the past, the Senate has allowed for judicial nominees’ home state Senators to have a say in whether their nomination should proceed — and the GOP has done away with that under Trump.

Besides the question of nominations packages, Senators also have to grapple with getting the government funded past December 21. President Trump has previously insisted on $5 billion for his long sought border wall or else, and although there’s been reporting on the administration backing down from the president’s line — there’s still no funding approved as of Tuesday afternoon, and they’ve only got until Friday night.

Democrats have maintained a harsh stance, insisting that the president will get no funding at all for his wall that he originally insisted (against all odds) Mexico was going to pay for anyway.

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