January 27, 2023

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Sen. Josh Hawley grills Biden judicial nominee

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Conservatives fear that Senate Democrats, who will hold a 51-49 majority next year, will be able to push through President Biden’s judicial nominees much more easily with little recourse for Republicans.

Republican Herschel Walker lost a critical seat for Republicans from the Georgia runoff last week, giving Democrats a slim majority for the next two years of Joe Biden’s presidency. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that majority will have a “significant” impact, especially when it comes to moving Biden’s nominees.

“Obviously judges and nominees will be a lot easier to put on the bench,” Schumer said. “It’s been amazing how Republicans have been able to use the 50-50 Senate to procedurally hold up so many appointments. It’s going to be a lot quicker, swifter and easier.”

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will have a "significant" advantage in approving President Biden's judicial nominees next year.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will have a "significant" advantage in approving President Biden’s judicial nominees next year.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

For the last two years, a power-sharing agreement in the 50-50 Senate has meant an equal number of Republicans and Democrats in each committee, and a tie vote on a nominee in the Judiciary Committee requires a debate on the Senate floor before a nominee can go through. That requirement has forced Democrats into a slower pace on Biden’s nominees.

However, in a 51-49 Senate, Democrats will hold a majority of the seats on that committee and can much more quickly approve Biden’s judges as long as they stick together. One conservative fears this change will erase what they consider one of former President Trump’s most significant accomplishments – confirming a whopping 231 judges during his four years in office.

“WithHerschelWalker’sloss,PresidentBidenwillbeabletoundoPresidentTrump’shistoric transformationofthelowerfederalcourts,” Mike Davis, former chief counsel for nominations in the Senate Judiciary Committee and president of Article III Project, told Fox News Digital.

Davis predicted “straight party line votes to get nominees confirmed.”

Biden is already outpacing Trump with 87 confirmations compared to Trump’s 83 during the first-two years in the White House. Trump and then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kicked the nominations process into high-gear during the second half of his presidency which led to record-breaking confirmations. The new power structure in the Senate gives Biden the same opportunity.

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The Senate has so far confirmed 87 of President Biden's judges.

The Senate has so far confirmed 87 of President Biden’s judges.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

“This is why elections matter,” Megan Wold, partner at Cooper & Kirk told Fox News Digital, adding that Biden’s ability to “stock the lower courts” will be strengthened in the new Senate next year.

Wold noted that while they lack the voting power to stop Biden’s nominees, Republicans on the committee will continue to ask tough questions in committee to “hold President Biden accountable for his judges.”

“If you’re going to be able to make a splash about someone’s record, you’ve got to dig in and find, you know, what’s the truth about these nominees and really uncover that truth, and publicize it in a way that average voters would care more about,” Wold noted. She said this can potentially take up time and force Democrats to spend more time defending their nominees, which can slow the process down.

More centrist Democrats like Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, now a registered Independent, still do not give conservatives much hope of roadblocking Biden’s judicial picks.

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Conservative group says President Biden's "far left judge picks" are payback to "liberal dark money groups" that helped get him elected. 

Conservative group says President Biden’s "far left judge picks" are payback to "liberal dark money groups" that helped get him elected. 
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“Senators Manchin and Sinema have yet to raise a concern with a single one of President Biden’s judicial nominees,”JCN President Carrie Severino told Fox Digital.

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“Ov​er the next two years, I expect them to continue to bless Biden’s far-left judge picks, which are a payback to the liberal dark money groups that have spent over one billion dollars to help elect him and Senate Democrats,” Severino added.