Warren rips McConnell for blocking judges
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBrown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Gillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert Native American group denounces Trump for using Wounded Knee in attack against Warren MORE (D-Mass.) ripped into Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Mellman: Why does the GOP persist? Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (R-Ky.) after he blocked the Senate from confirming judicial nominees, saying he was holding them as "political hostages." 

"[McConnell] forces his will on everyone else. This is not how the Senate is supposed to work," Warren said from the Senate floor. "The Senate's job is to provide advice and consent on the president's judicial nominees. There is no asterisk that says only when the majority leader has an embarrassing political problem." 
 
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Warren's comments come after she tried to get unanimous consent — which requires the agreement of every senator — to confirm 15 judicial nominations, but McConnell objected. 
 
The Senate Republican leader noted that President Obama has gotten more judges confirmed at this point in his tenure than President George W. Bush had at the same point. 
 
"We've continued to process judicial nominations. We've done so even when a majority of the Republican conference did not support the nominee," he added. "And we'll continue to process his judicial nominations, but the minority is not going to dictate ... when and how we will do so." 
 
Warren said she had planned to try to confirm the judges on Monday but was offered a deal by Republicans. Theys said that if she held off, they would agree to confirm two judicial nominations to the Court of International Trade. 
 
The Massachusetts Democrat tied the offer — which she accepted — to the political fallout from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE's comments that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel has "an absolute conflict" of interest in presiding over Trump University lawsuits because of his "Mexican heritage." 
 
"I guess the majority leader was taking a lot of heat about judges and Donald Trump's racist statements about them and didn't want to draw any more attention to the Republicans' unprecedented blockade of judicial nominations," she said. 
 
McConnell, however, argued that Republicans wanted to confirm the two judges before a weeklong Memorial Day recess, but Democrats held up the nominations. 
 
Warren also tried to confirm nine judicial nominations, then four nominations, and then one nominee, but was blocked by McConnell and, separately, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLive coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Trump praises RNC chairwoman after she criticizes her uncle Mitt Romney Romney sworn in as senator MORE (R-Utah). 
 
Hatch pledged to look into the judicial nominations but said Democrats have previously held up nominees at the end of a Republican administration. 
 
"This happens every time at the end," he added. "It's nice to raise these fusses around here, and I don't blame the distinguished senator from Massachusetts because she's doing her job."