As Christine reported, the Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett as the newest member of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The final tally was 55-43, with just three Democrats joining every Republican to vote 'yes' on behalf of this highly qualified Trump nominee. In the past, 43 nays would have been sufficient to sustain a filibuster, but Harry Reid and friends nuked the minority's ability to hold up presidential nominations with their 2013 power grab -- which, in turn, was meant to overcome obstructionist tactics they themselves had pioneered under President Bush. "Moderate" Democrats like Montana's Jon Tester (who seems committed to ensuring an anti-Second Amendment judiciary) and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp voted against this mainstream female legal star, after fellow Democrats launched religiously-charged attacks against her. So did "pro-life" Democrat Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Two Senators did not vote: Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who was busy facing additional setbacks in his federal corruption trial, and faux-moderate Claire McCaskil (D-MO) who may need to dream up new lies about her whereabouts.
Leftists, and especially the abortion lobby, are rather unhappy over Barrett's confirmation, and it's likely not the last time they'll take an 'L' this week, either. That's because Mitch McConnell decided to devote the entire floor schedule to confirming a conga line of conservative judges nominated by President Trump, with more to come. Democrats have insisted using their remaining powers (which Republicans recently decided to curtail a bit further, with more potential changes on the way) to drag out the process, and McConnell is currently obliging them. If that's how they want to play it, the GOP majority will do nothing else but debate and confirm Trump's picks. All week. Here was good ole' Mitch -- the conservative base's hatred for whom is eclipsed only by the Democratic base's hatred for him -- telling Chuck Schumer that he can choose to gum up this process for hours, but the gears will keep turning:
Later today, the Senate will vote to confirm one of those nominees: Trevor McFadden as a district court judge for the District of Columbia. His nomination was approved by the Judiciary Committee without a single vote in opposition. Democrats needlessly delayed his vote here on the floor anyway. We’ve seen many delay tactics from them this year already. We’ve pushed through every time. We’re going to push through again today. We’re going to confirm the impressive judicial nominee before us. We’re going to confirm more judicial nominees in the coming days too. Our effort to confirm qualified judicial nominees this year would not be possible without the tireless work and effective leadership of Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. To build on the excellent work of his committee, I filed cloture last week on four well-qualified circuit court nominees. These nominees understand their role as a judge is to put aside their personal preferences and instead decide cases based on what the law says. We’ll confirm all of them this week, no matter how long that takes. The first of these four circuit court nominees we’ll confirm this week is Professor Amy Barrett, who was nominated by President Trump to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit."
McConnell also contrasted President Obama's liberal and "empathy"-driven court picks with Trump's strong slate of constitutionalists: "For the past eight years, we had a president who selected nominees for our nation’s judiciary based upon what became known as the ‘empathy standard’ — an ideological litmus test designed to find judicial nominees who would favor certain groups or individuals over others. That’s a great standard if you’re the party in a case whom the judge has empathy for. It’s not so great if you’re the other person. Not only does this standard deny every litigant a fair shake, it also disregards our nation’s bedrock legal tradition of dispensing equal justice under the law. President Trump, on the other hand, is selecting nominees who will help ensure that the judiciary is true to its role in our democracy." Up next:
With Barrett confirmed, this is how the rest of Senate GOP's judicial confirmation blitz (thanks, Harry Reid!) is shaping up this week: pic.twitter.com/Xqy7l4F46s— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 1, 2017
Incidentally, many of the celebratory statements on the Right over Barrett's Senate approval (including the back half of McConnell's speech above) have touted the vote's rebuke of Catholicphobia-tinged questions from Democratic interlocutors during her confirmation hearings -- which crept up toward the line of imposing an unconstitutional religious test for public office. This certainly is a laudable byproduct of Barrett's confirmation, but it has been difficult to watch Republicans who wrap themselves in the constitution -- and who've made a loud, righteous stink over the "dogma" flap -- lining up to endorse Roy Moore in Alabama. Moore has argued that practicing Muslims cannot serve in Congress, and he's effectively doubled down on that position (amid a indignation-filled world salad) in the last few days. Speaking of Moore, the latest poll down there shows him up double-digits, which shouldn't be a giant shock given that (a) it's Alabama, and (b) Democrats nominated an abortion zealot/Liz Warren-type leftist...in Alabama. Take a bow:
GOP poll: Roy Moore leading comfortably. Gee, maybe the Dems shouldn't have nominated Liz Warren in a suit...in ALABAMA? These parties ?? pic.twitter.com/J5IjMqNZIP— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 31, 2017
UPDATE - Happy confirmation to you, Joan Larsen. She even got 60 votes:
The Larsen nomination was confirmed 60 to 38.— Senate Press Gallery (@SenatePress) November 1, 2017
Dems voting YEA: Carper, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, Nelson, Peters, Stabenow & Warner.