During Friday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) stated that “Republicans are confirming extreme, partisan judges at the expense of virtually any major legislation to improve the lives of Americans.”
Transcript as Follows:
“Hi, I’m Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
This week, President Trump hosted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans at the White House to celebrate the extreme, far-right conservative judges they’ve jammed onto the federal courts.
If you’re wondering why Republicans haven’t taken up any of the important bills the House passed this year – like the For The People Act, to clean up corruption and special interest influence in government; or the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization; or universal background checks for gun buyers – well, this event is the answer.
Republicans are confirming extreme, partisan judges at the expense of virtually any major legislation to improve the lives of Americans. Under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate is a legislative graveyard.
A good example of Trump’s extreme partisan nominees is Second Circuit nominee Steven Menashi. This nominee advised on Stephen Miller’s immigration plans, and Betsy DeVos’s public education rollbacks.
But he refused to tell the Senate what advice he’d given – like whether he’d backed Miller’s infamous policy separating little children from their families.
Menashi once argued that gun control legislation was ‘pointless and self-defeating, because guns reduce crime.’
He said Supreme Court decisions granting women the right to choose reflects ‘radical abortion rights advocated by campus feminists.’
And LGBTQ, and faith, and civil rights groups have all condemned his alarming comments and views about their communities.
Another example: we just held a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee for a Trump nominee who the American Bar Association interview process found was ‘arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.’
Needless to say, the ABA rated him unqualified.
Why’s it worth it to Republicans to turn the Senate into a legislative graveyard for nominees like these?
Because that’s what their big special interest donors want; what those big special interest donors have built is a giant influence machine.
According to the Washington Post, a network of shadowy conservative groups uses hundreds of millions of dollars, in anonymous dark money, to get nominees like Menashi, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanagh into the most powerful courts in the land.
A single anonymous donor gave $17 million dollars to stop Judge Merrick Garland and push for Judge Gorsuch.
A single donor, maybe the same person, gave another $17 million to push Judge Kavanaugh onto the Court. Do you suppose that donor might expect something in return for all that money?
Today, we see the dark-money machine at work in the pattern of decisions from Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices that over and over benefit big Republican donor interests.
Republican-appointed justices have struck down Civil Rights voting legislation, common sense gun safety laws, protections for workers’ right to organize, and basic environmental rules.
In fact, through the Roberts Court’s fall term last year, Republican appointees delivered partisan 5-4 rulings favoring big corporate and Republican donor interests an astounding 73 times. 73 times.
Too often, you can predict who will win a case once you know who the parties are. That’s wrong.
Wednesday’s celebration at the White House was the signal to those big donors that Republicans are delivering, handing over the judicial branch of the United States government to big donor interests. Meanwhile, back in the Senate legislative graveyard, Republicans are delivering nothing for the American people.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett