WASHINGTON—Grassroots conservative leaders participating in the effort to end the Senate gridlock on President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees are coupling an air war in the media with a ground war using their impressive supporter networks to confirm conservative judges.
Judges have proven to be a potent issue for the president, with his appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court recognized by allies and critics alike as a home-run achievement of the Trump presidency thus far. With over 100 vacancies on the federal courts and the strong possibility of another Supreme Court vacancy before the midterm elections, there is massive upside potential for president over the coming months.
But as previously reported, Senate Democrats have created gridlock in the Senate to prevent an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor for most of these nominees, despite the fact that there is a clear majority for likely every one of these nominees.
The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) launched a nationwide campaign last week to break the logjam over President Trump’s picks. Now the leaders of some of JCN’s coalition partners are speaking out on why they are activating their massive grassroots networks to rally support for senators to act on the president’s nominees.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) is leading an effort to limit the number of hours of debate that the Senate will allow for nominees before voting on their confirmation. If Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, agrees to change the “blue slip” process on judicial nominees, and couples that change with Lankford’s proposal, then the gridlock would be broken.
“The gridlock reform proposed by Sen. Lankford would go a long way toward getting these judges confirmed in a timely manner and minimizing the backlog in America’s court system,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and CEO of Tea Party Patriots. “Democrats are doing this because they want to maintain liberal control of the courts—so they can impose by judicial fiat the extreme agenda they cannot enact legislatively or politically.”
“The unprecedented, Democrat-imposed gridlock for judicial nominees, as well as all of the president’s executive branch nominees, has been a grotesque disservice to the American people,” Martin continued. “It’s exactly what people hate about Washington, and another reason voters sent Donald Trump to Washington to drain the swamp.”
“President Trump’s promise to fill the courts with judges who will follow the Constitution rallied the pro-life grassroots during the election,” agreed Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “President Trump has kept that promise, nominating well-qualified, principled jurists to all levels of the judicial branch. But pro-abortion senators are bucking the will of the people and are blocking these highly qualified nominees, causing disruption in our judicial system.”
“The obstructionism and abuse of Senate rules must end. SBA List fully supports Sen. Lankford’s gridlock reform efforts and will be rallying the pro-life grassroots behind them,” Dannenfelser added. “If pro-abortion senators continue to choose gridlock over reform, they do so at their own political peril—especially those up for re-election in 2018.”
“One of the biggest reasons for President Trump’s impressive victory was his unabashed commitment to appointing constitutionalist judges,” said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, echoing the sentiments of Martin and Dannenfelser. “He has done as promised, but Democrats have shown they will do anything, including abusing Senate rules and procedures, to frustrate the will of the American people.”
“Senate leadership must put an end to this now and get President Trump’s nominees confirmed,” Nance concluded. “We stand behind Sen. Lankford’s reforms. Cooperation and protection of our Constitution must be prioritized.”
The multi-group national campaign is using the social handles #GridlockReform and #ConfirmThem.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski