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Nominations

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The single most important thing a president does is nominate judges. We now know that, long after conservatives realized this. But Biden has really slowed down his nominations, both in terms of judges and other nominations. This is terrible and it needs to change stat.

Biden fell behind the number of judges the Senate had confirmed at the same point under former president Donald Trump over the summer, and the gap has grown. The Senate has confirmed 154 judges since Biden took office, compared with 164 judges at this point during Trump’s presidency, according to the American Constitution Society, a liberal judicial advocacy group.

Biden is seeking to surpass Trump’s total tally before next year, when Democrats could lose the Senate, the White House or both.

By Dec. 31, 2019, the end of Trump’s third year in office, the Senate had confirmed 187 judges. Blumenthal said he wants Democrats to surpass that number by the end of the year — a herculean task that would require the Senate to confirm 34 nominees, many of whom haven’t even had hearings yet.

Democrats point to a variety of reasons Biden has fallen behind Trump’s pace. Blumenthal cited this year’s standoffs over the debt limit and government spending as well as senators in both parties who have moved slowly in submitting names of potential nominees.

“It may not be possible to overcome Trump’s numbers by the end of this year,” said Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin who is now president of the American Constitution Society. “But if 2024 is taken a little more seriously … it is perfectly reasonable and possible for [Biden and the Senate] to surpass what Trump was able to do.”

Alas, it isn’t just the judges:

The most prominent vacancy is at the Labor Department, where Julie Su has served as acting secretary since Labor Secretary Marty Walsh left in March as her nomination to succeed him languishes.

Thirty Republican senators sent Biden a letter last month lambasting him for refusing to pull Su’s nomination even though she appears to lack the votes to be confirmed. The White House has argued that, because Su is the deputy labor secretary, the law allows her to serve as acting secretary indefinitely.

But there are other Biden picks whose nominations have been on hold for months or even years, as well as vacancies for which Biden hasn’t nominated anyone. Biden hasn’t named his pick for deputy secretary of homeland security, for instance, since John Tien left in July.

A senior White House official pointed to several recent victories, including the confirmation of Jack Lew as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Obviously, individual assholes in the Senate like Tuberville have made a difference here. But when people aren’t even nominated to begin with, I just don’t know…..

In any case, given that Biden may well lose in a year and quite likely Democrats will lose the Senate even if he doesn’t, well, this is your legacy Joe! Nominations for all!

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