ST. PAUL, Minn. — A judicial watchdog group says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has created an “assembly line” for approving conservative judges who will determine the civil rights of Americans for decades to come.
Before recessing last month, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed 13 new judges to lifetime appointments in a two-day period. Daniel Goldberg, legal director with the Alliance for Justice, said young, white, mostly male judges will rule on rights for workers, women, the LGBTQ community and consumer protections for the next three to five decades.
“People who will use the court, who will use their position as lifetime judges to jam a radical agenda that they could not achieve otherwise onto the country,” Goldberg said.
Since President Donald Trump took office, he has had 146 federal judges confirmed by the Senate – compared to 20 during President Barack Obama’s last two years in office. Almost 80% of Trump’s confirmed judges are male and 90% are white, while more than half the U.S. population is female and 30% of the country identifies as Latino or African-American.
According to Goldman, the rush to approve lifetime judges has replaced any effort by the Trump administration to pursue a legislative agenda. He said he believes the country’s wealthy and powerful understand they can’t achieve their objectives through the democratic process, so they want conservative judges to do it for them.
“Long after Donald Trump leaves the scene, the judges he has put on the federal bench will be making rulings that impact the lives of everyday Americans for the next three, four, five decades,” Goldman said.
Earlier this year, McConnell led a vote to change the rules of debate for confirming district judges from a required 30 hours to only two hours. That followed his decision to block Merrick Garland – Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court – for almost a year while waiting for the 2016 election that ultimately allowed Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch.