Reprinted with permission from Alternet
With voting rights legislation and the Build Back Better Act stalled in the Senate, some liberals and progressives are complaining that President Joe Biden hasn’t been getting enough done. But journalist S.V. Dáte , in an article published by HuffPost on December 29, stresses that Biden has been a major success in terms of getting “progressive judges” on the federal bench — and Date argues that former President Donald Trump played a role in Biden’s achievement, even though that wasn’t his intention.
Dáte explains, “The former president’s sabotage of two Georgia Senate runoffs in early January with his endless lies about ‘massive fraud’ having cost him reelection almost certainly cost the two Republican incumbents their seats, giving Democrats control of the chamber and the ability to push through judicial nominations without a single GOP vote.”
A year ago, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was still Senate majority leader. But that changed when, in Georgia, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were elected to the Senate — giving Democrats a narrow majority. Trump’s message to GOP voters in Georgia was that since Democrats rigged those Senate races, it was pointless for Republicans to vote. And that message did not serve the GOP well.
Of course, there was nothing “rigged” about those two runoffs. Democrats did a better job getting out the vote in Georgia, whereas Trump’s nonsense claims about widespread voter fraud discouraged Republican turnout.
Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor in Virginia, agrees that Trump’s actions in Georgia ultimately gave Biden a chance to get more federal judges confirmed — something they wouldn’t have been able to do had Republicans maintained control of the Senate.
"Trump handed it to them,” Tobias told HuffPost. “They just wouldn’t have had the votes. I don’t know what they would have done.”
Dáte notes that “of the 40 Biden judges confirmed so far — 35 more are already in the pipeline — a full 80 percent are women.”
“Those nominees would have faced a much tougher path in a Senate run by Mitch McConnell with a 52-48 Republican majority, which appeared as if it would be the outcome in November 2020 after the votes were counted in Georgia with no candidate in either of the two Senate races receiving over 50 perecent,” Dáte observes.
Tobias said of Biden’s federal judicial nominees, “I think very few of those people would have been confirmed. Biden would have pulled back and.… chosen more moderates, picked more people who were less ideologically liberal.”
HuffPost also interviewed the American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein, who agrees that had McConnell remained Senate majority leader, Biden would have had a much harder time getting his judicial nominees confirmed.
Ornstein told HuffPost, “If Biden were able to get a half dozen judges through — most likely, only district courts — in a McConnell-led Senate, that would be because Mitch was feeling especially generous. And Mitch does not feel generous.”
Article reprinted with permission from Alternet