This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 13, 2017:
It took a while, but, after six months, 133 conservative leaders saw what Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was up to, and they didn’t like it. He was joining with the Democrats, especially the odious liberal Democrat Senator from New York who is the Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, to keep the Trump revolution from happening. When the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to take the place of deceased Justice Antonin Scalia in April, McConnell and Schumer realized what Trump was up to: he intended to transform American judiciary to “originalists” and it looked like he certainly had the opportunity. After all there were more than a hundred vacancies and many more elder judges getting close to retirement.
It was a fantastic opportunity. Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society and informal advisor to Trump, told CBN News that Trump’s opportunity to shape the law for the next several generations is huge:
This president has an opportunity to potentially fill as many as 40 percent of the seats on the federal bench. And that will just be transformative … [their influence] will last 40, 50 years, and will have an enormous impact on the future of our country.
John Malcolm, a vice president for the Institute for Constitutional Government at the Heritage Foundation, suggested several of the people who wound up being on Trump’s short list for nominees to the Supreme Court. But the real impact isn’t with the Supreme Court. Instead, it is with the lower federal courts that decide the vast majority of cases. While the Supremes take on roughly 80 cases a year, regional federal courts rule on about 60,000 cases every year.
Said Malcolm: “There was a decided leftward tilt by some of these courts during the Obama administration. So I think from a conservative standpoint, getting that shift by the judiciary back in the right direction is incredibly important to the direction of the law,” adding that “it’s the structural Constitution that really protects human freedom and which really preserves human dignity from the heavy-handed nature of the state.”
That is the opportunity. Historians have said it’s impossible to row the canoe back up over the falls, to stuff the genie back into the bottle, to force the runaway national government back into its cage and lock the door. Jefferson said that the tendency of government is to expand and for freedom to shrink. And for decades Jefferson’s truism appeared to be true and certain. But with so many vacancies coming over the next few years, Trump’s nationalistic tendencies, aided and abetted by the likes of Leo and Malcolm and Trump’s current White House counsel Don McGahn, could result in a counterrevolution that could uproot decades of unconstitutional encroachment and meddling that have been pushed by the elites on both sides of the aisle.
For those elites this couldn’t be allowed to happen. Something had to be done!
On October 10, 133 conservative heavyweights (Edwin Meese, Tony Perkins, Jim Demint, General William Boykin, Jenny Beth Martin, to name just a few) saw what McConnell was doing and told him to stop it:
As President Trump approaches the end of his first year in office, his ability to implement his agenda across the executive branch has been hindered by the Senate’s failure to confirm his nominations.
Under unified government, President Trump has still faced a slower pace of confirmations than that of Presidents Bush or Obama, both of whom had nearly half of their nominees confirmed by this time in their respective terms. Specifically, President Bush had 358 of his 610 nominations cleared. President Obama had 341 out of 505 nominations confirmed. Currently, President Trump has only had 161 confirmations of the 398 individuals nominated.
The slow pace of Senate confirmations is exacerbated by the Senate’s continued insistence on working no more than 2 ½ days a week – arriving on Monday evening for a handful of votes, and departing, on average, by 2:30 p.m. each Thursday afternoon.
That would be the work of Republican establishment Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Previous Senates worked harder. The Reid Senate of 2009 averaged a departure time of 6:15 p.m. every Thursday, and oftentimes stayed as late as 11:30 p.m. to finish their work. In fact, the Reid Senate of 2009-2010 spent nearly 2,500 hours in session, compared to the McConnell Senate of 2015-2016, which spent just 1,855 hours in session.
It’s the McConnell Senate of 2017-18 that’s deliberately stalling, delaying, dithering, and working with Democrats to slow down the process of returning the Constitution to its rightful and legal place in American jurisprudence. Wrote the 133:
Also troubling is the Republican insistence that Democrats are “obstructing” votes on these nominations, as claimed in a recent press release from the Senate Majority Leader’s office. It is unclear what obstruction is taking place. Democrats no longer have the ability to filibuster any nominees, judicial or executive. Any simple objections they do make – such as running all post-cloture time – are simply process objections that can be easily overcome.
Moreover, if Democrats are going to insist on all post-cloture time to be run, Majority Leader McConnell can easily make this painful for them by forcing continuous session overnight and through the weekend. If the Senate stayed in session continuously for a week (including the weekend), they could confirm up to five nominees every week even if Democrats made them run the full post-cloture time on each nomination.
At the moment, there are 175 pending nominees waiting for action from Senate committees while another 101 are waiting for a confirmation vote by the full Senate. At the present rate, it will take years for the Senate to consider Trump’s nominees, which is apparently what McConnell wants.
Of course McConnell is getting considerable help from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer who has also been fighting to slow down the confirmation by requiring that the Senate invoke “cloture” – i.e., the “nuclear option” whereby just 51 Senators can shut off filibusters – which then sets in motion the “30-hour” rule. That rule limits debate on any nominee to 30 hours, with no Senator being allowed to speak for more than one hour.
This has been successful in slowing the confirmation process to a virtual crawl: only two or three nominees are being confirmed every week. For example, it took two months for the nomination of a non-controversial judge, David Nye, to reach the Senate floor for a vote. When it got there, the Senate voted for his confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, 100-0.
Even that glacial pace is too much for the LA Times. David Savage denounced one of Trump’s nominees, Brett Talley, because 1) he had been practicing law for just three years; 2) had never tried a case in a court of law, and 3) was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association’s judicial rating committee. More annoying was that Talley, who currently serves as President Trump’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice, had the audacity to denounce the Democratic presidential candidate as “Hillary Rotten Clinton” while – horror of horrors! – supporting the National Rifle Association.
Savage didn’t mention that the ABA’s judicial rating committee has long been considered a farce. He had to dig deeply into the rotten barrel of apples to come up with a criticism of Talley from an outfit called the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. This is the hard-left group that was headed by Vanita Gupta, a former Obama administrator with previous tenure at the ACLU.
Savage, to his credit, did explain why Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was so upset about Talley. In a blog post called “A Call to Arms,” he wrote back in 2013 that “the President and his Democratic allies in Congress are about to launch the greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime … the object of that war is to make guns illegal, in all forms.” Talley added that the NRA “stands for all of us now, and I pray that in the coming battle for our rights, they will be victorious.”
The New York Times also featured its displeasure at Trump’s originalist nominees by printing a screed by Charlie Savage, no perceived relation to the David Savage mentioned above. This Savage disclosed a “secret” meeting that Trump’s campaign held several weeks before the election (which, it should be remembered, was heading in Hillary’s direction) during which plans were made to name conservatives to the hundred or more judgeships that were open or about to be open thanks to those retiring. As of November 11, the Senate had confirmed just eight appellate judges and Savage didn’t like any of them. After all, wrote Savage, Trump had the audacity to select those nominees from a list put together by top people at the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. He couldn’t contain himself, writing that these people are seen by conservatives as “legal rock stars who will interpret the Constitution according to its text and original meaning.” This would, wrote Savage, “bring the conservative legal movement … to a new peak of influence over American law and society.” Well, yes.
But such declamation from liberal mouthpieces and stalling by Schumer cannot stop the Trump revolution. It needs the help of McConnell. Said the letter:
Democrats may be able to delay consideration of nominees for a short time, but they ultimately can no longer obstruct. In the absence of the filibuster, the fate of every nominee rests solely with Majority Leader McConnell and the will of the GOP conference to do the necessary work….
To that end, the Conservative Movement calls on the Senate leadership [that would be you, Mitch!] to IMMEDIATELY schedule committee and floor action every Thursday and Friday for the foreseeable future to act on President Trump’s nominees for executive and judicial office and to begin working a full week, EVERY week, until all nominations have been acted upon.
The United States Senate behaves as though there are no time limits and no urgency to these matters. They are wrong and we cannot overstate the frustration and growing concern with the Republican Senate leadership for its failure during this entire year to do its work, process the nominations and address the issues that the American people have elected and pay them to handle.
The 133 conservatives have successfully “outed” McConnell for the RINO that he is. Although his present term doesn’t end until 2020, he is the longest-serving senator in Kentucky’s history and turned 75 in February. It is clearly long past time for the gentleman from Kentucky to yield to history, and retire.
DailySignal.com: Trump Nominees Languish in GOP-Controlled Senate