The Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate that was expanded after the 2022 midterm elections has been quite productive.
In recent weeks, the chamber’s Democrats have won 11 votes in a row against Mitch McConnell, the long-serving leader of Senate Republicans. All 11 of these votes have dealt with nominations made for various posts around government, including leadership roles in federal departments and spots on the federal judiciary. Confirming — or approving — presidential picks for such positions is a key role of the Senate. Democrats overcame sometimes dour expectations in the midterms to actually add a seat to their thin control of the chamber, and many of these votes, whether dealing with whether to close debate or finalize a confirmation, have been very close.
One of the most recent presidential picks to be approved by the Senate was Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, a woman chosen for a role as judge in federal District Court in New York, where she’s become the first Muslim woman confirmed to such a position. Also recently confirmed by the Senate was Dale E. Ho, who has led a voting rights initiative at the long-running legal advocacy organization the American Civil Liberties Union.
No Republicans in the Senate voted in favor of Ho’s confirmation, and none voted for confirming Choudhury to the federal bench, either. Both will significantly expand the breadth of experience from which members of the federal judiciary can draw when orchestrating the examination of U.S. law and how such applies to communities potentially nationwide, since the decision of a single federal judge even at the level of District Court can have national impacts. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is up for re-election next year and already has a prominent Republican challenger in his state’s Republican governor, voted against confirming both Ho and Choudhury.