Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Monday that the Biden administration must “restore the balance to the bench” after the Trump administration’s many “horrible” judicial appointments to federal courts.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Schumer on her show Monday evening when he thinks the Biden administration’s first judicial nominations will move forward.
“Obviously the Trump administration did that in a machine-like way,” Maddow said. “They put hundreds of judges with lifetime tenure on the courts. We haven’t seen any judicial nominations from this president yet. Should we expect those soon?”
“Yes,” Schumer responded, adding that he has been working with the White House to start the process.
“We have to restore the balance.” – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tells Rachel Maddow that judicial appointments will come as soon as President Biden’s Cabinet is filled. pic.twitter.com/kYWbqZLLrF
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) March 16, 2021
“They put so many right-wing, really, some of the people who they put on the bench were people, I hate to use all these bad words, but they’re just horrible,” the New York Democrat continued. “They had no understanding of walking in the other person’s shoes. They were narrow, right-wing, often young people.”
“So we have to restore the balance to the bench, and that’s of great urgency. And we will,” the Senate’s top Democrat said.
Working with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, former President Donald Trump appointed more than 230 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court judges that tipped the balance towards the Court’s more conservative judges.
Even before Trump took office, McConnell had left many federal circuit and district court seats open, as well as the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, refusing to consider former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.
The Senate continued to confirm judicial nominees even after Trump lost the election to President Joe Biden in November and as control of the Senate hung in the balance. Some of Trump’s lifetime appointees are still in their 30s, and 30% of the judges on the country’s court of appeals were appointed by the last administration.
McConnell acknowledged the staying power of the major reshaping of the federal judiciary as the Trump presidency approached its end last year and expressed the pride he takes in having been a key figure in the effort.
“I think it’s far and away the most consequential thing I’ve ever been involved in,” McConnell said last year. “And it’s the most long-lasting accomplishment of the current administration, by far.’’
During his 2016 campaign, Trump ran heavily on appointing conservative judges, releasing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees as part of an effort to allay concerns that the formerly pro-abortion New York businessman would not appoint conservatives.
Schumer said Monday that once the Senate confirms Biden’s Cabinet members and the other major appointments, a process that is almost done, they will move on and begin appointing judges and “redressing the imbalance that Trump put on the bench.”
“We have a big, bold agenda, but we’re getting it done,” Schumer said. “We’re going to have to get it done. Failure is not an option, and we are just getting started.”
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