Mitch McConnell is in no rush to approve COVID-19 aid. But he will start confirming more Trump judges 'as soon as' Senate returns

Mitch McConnell is in no rush to approve COVID-19 aid. But he will start confirming more Trump judges 'as soon as' Senate returns
Honored to escort Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Capitol for meetings with members of the Senate. We hope and trust that the Senate will give a strong vote confirming Judge Kavanaugh as the newest justice to the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear in an interview Wednesday that the top priority for the Republican-controlled upper chamber upon its expected return early next month will not be approving desperately needed coronavirus aid for the unemployed, the uninsured, and frontline workers.

Rather, McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the Senate will resume its rapid-fire confirmations of President Donald Trump's lifetime right-wing judicial nominees "as soon as we get back in session."

"The current plan is to go back in session on May the 4th," said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. "I haven't seen anything that would discourage me from doing that. And as soon as we get back in session, we'll start confirming judges again. We need to have hearings, and we need to confirm judges. Hugh, you and I have discussed this before. My motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind. That hasn't changed."

"The pandemic," McConnell added, "will not prevent us from achieving that goal."

McConnell's remarks came just hours after the Senate Majority Leader threw cold water on the prospect of fast movement on a fourth coronavirus aid package that—unlike the interim measure the Senate passed Tuesday—includes relief for the millions of people struggling to meet basic needs amid the coronavirus-induced economic fallout.

"The best way to get the economy back and running is to begin to open it up again, rather than passing immediately another bill where we have to borrow," McConnell told Politico.

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, Trump in recent weeks has nominated two more ultra-conservative judges: U.S. District Judge Justin Walker to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Cory Wilson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

"This is all they care about: stacking courts with ideologically extreme judges to roll back our rights for decades," Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, tweeted in response to McConnell's comments Wednesday. "We can't stand for it."

Civil rights groups decried Trump's nomination of Walker and Wilson as another step toward packing the federal courts with "right-wing ideologues" hostile to reproductive rights, workers, and the environment.

Trump, with the help of McConnell and the right-wing Federalist Society, has now hand-picked around one in every five U.S. federal judges. Because Trump's selections have been disproportionately young, they will have the power to reshape American law for decades to come.

"Please pay attention," Gupta said earlier this month. "The pandemic hasn't stopped Trump and McConnell from trying to take over our federal courts with extreme judges who are anti-healthcare and anti-civil rights. This is their priority."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.