“Dirty tricks” – Left outraged as Trump and McConnell beat them at their own game

Author and Daily Beast legal affairs columnist Jay Michaelson took aim at President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for, as he put it, getting “revenge” on the 9th Circuit Court, “helped by McConnell’s Dirty Tricks.”

Michaelson listed his frustrations in an opinion piece, published by the Daily Beast:

“Donald Trump hates the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and now he’s getting his revenge,” Michaelson began. The columnist went on to say that the president is “ramming through hyperpartisan nominees” in an effort to make the court lean toward the right.

“The Ninth Circuit has long been a target of conservative ire; Newt Gingrich called it ‘anti-American,’” Michaelson said, but warned that “all that is about to change.”

“There are 29 judgeships on the court,” the best-selling author explained. “When Trump took office, 18 were filled by the nominees of Democratic presidents, seven by Republicans’ and three seats were vacant. Four Trump nominees now sit on the bench, and three more nominees … are awaiting Senate votes. Assuming they are confirmed, the court will have 16 Democrat nominees and 12 Republican ones.”

Michaelson then explained the history of the “blue slip” in confirming judges, where the state’s senators were given the courtesy of signing off on a nominee for their state. Without said slip, the Senate, up to now, would likely not confirm the justice.

“To no one’s surprise, McConnell has reversed himself on that sacred principle now that he is majority leader and a Republican is in the White House: the blue-slip is history. The GOP chairmen of the judiciary committee have simply junked the century-old practice, at least as applied to appellate court.

“Second, now that a formal requirement for bipartisanship has been eliminated, the Trump administration has abandoned any pretense of nominating mainstream individuals to these life-tenure positions.

“Finally, unsatisfied with stacking nomination hearings on top of each other, Republicans have advanced a proposal to slash floor debate on nominees from 30 hours to two. That’s right: a judge may sit on the federal bench for 50 years, but in a rubber-stamp Senate, they’ll only be debated for less than time than it takes to watch Star Wars.”

The frustrated columnist ended his opinion piece with a dire warning:

“Trump … will have placed at least seven men [sic] on the Ninth Circuit, exacting sweet revenge on a court he believes has wronged him. And most of them will still be there long after Trump is gone.”