Columns, Opinion

American Protest: Stacking the federal courts is not democratic

With all the chaos going on in this country, between the pipe bomb mailings and a terrorist attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday, the Trump administration has been quietly conducting business without anyone noticing.

Recently, the GOP Senate has been moving quickly to speed up the confirmation of new judges in federal courts. In order to do so, they have been sidestepping practices and traditions that have always been followed in nominations for new judges.

In skipping over these prior practices, they are ensuring that consensus is not necessary for the new judges who are confirmed.

Some of the traditions being forgone in order for the administration to pack the court include the practice of holding a confirmation hearing until the American Bar Association has completed a professional evaluation of the nominee and the practice of not piling up multiple nominees in one hearing.

It is clear the forgoing things such as background evaluations and allowing multiple nominees to be heard at once is an attempt by Republicans to get as many judges in the courts as possible in order to have more Republicans integrated in all branches of government.

As midterm elections and the push for Democrats to take back the majority in Congress approach, Republicans are scrambling to make sure they secure as many judges who will rule in their favor as possible.

The worst part of this is that, for the first time, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings during a Senate recess, which means much of the Democratic party is not there. This is something Democrats objected to but were silenced about.

Many Democrats are not at these hearings because many are campaigning in the final weeks of the midterm elections, and defending their seats in Congress is more important.

Furthermore, no other Senate Committee has held any hearings during the current recess, which is further proof that Republicans have no other reason to push through these nominations other than trying to sway the appeallate courts in their favor.

This has caused Trump-appointed judges to make up one-sixth of sitting, active judges on the federal court of appeals. With the Supreme Court leaning conservative due to Brett Kavanaugh’s election, Republicans are truly taking over the courts of America.

This is extremely worrying when we are currently dealing with a president who once promised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would make abortions illegal once again. Having a balanced court is essential in a democracy, and what the Trump administration is doing is not very democratic at all.

Pushing through nominees when Democrats will not be there to object to anyone and forgoing past traditions that have kept our courts balanced and professional is not democratic. It is not professional, either, and makes America look messy and corrupt.

So much has happened these past weeks that it has been especially easy for the Republicans to get away with this with little scrutiny, as mass shootings take the headlines once again. If the midterm elections were not important before, they are certainly more important now.

Americans need to start voting for people who will not pull stunts like this where they risk placing inadequate people on a court purely to further their party’s agenda. Politicians need to start thinking of Americans as their top priority, not their party.

Hopefully with this coming November, we find Senate members who want to create courts with judges who are fair and skilled, not just judges that adhere to their party.

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