Feinstein Statement on Judicial Nominee Rule Change

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on a Senate rule to reduce debate on judicial nominees from 30 hours to two hours:

            “For decades, Republicans have blocked judicial nominees from Democratic presidents. The most extreme case was Merrick Garland, who for almost a year wasn’t even afforded a hearing for his Supreme Court nomination.  

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            “Now, during the Trump administration, Republicans are doing all they can to pack federal courts with extremist judges. The latest effort: a dramatic change that would slash the time senators can debate nominees from 30 hours to two hours.  

            “Over the last two years, Republicans have ended the blue slip process. They pack multiple nominees into single hearings. Nominees routinely fail to provide required written materials. And all too often, Trump nominees lack even basic qualifications. All of this means we need more time for review, not less.  

            “This rule change makes no sense. Not only have more Trump nominees been confirmed than past presidents, they’re being confirmed quicker. Yet now, Republicans want to break the rules to pack the courts at an even faster rate.

            “When Leader Reid used this tactic in 2013 it was after five years of Republican obstruction. In 2013, Republicans had required almost as many cloture votes on Obama nominees as had been required throughout the entire history of the Senate. Back then, there was a real problem and impasse. But today, Republicans want to break the rules even though nominees are getting through at a record pace.

            “I strongly oppose breaking the rules to reduce debate time on judicial nominees. These are lifetime positions being filled with young, inexperienced nominees who are often outside the legal mainstream. Senators need adequate time to review these individuals’ records and make informed decisions. These efforts are harming not only the institution of the Senate, they’re harming the federal judiciary.”