Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days

The Senate confirmed eight of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE's court picks this week, underscoring the rapid pace the GOP-controlled chamber has set on judicial nominations. 
 
The confirmations came in back-to-back days with one district court nominee confirmed on Tuesday, five on Wednesday and two on Thursday. 
 
The votes bring the total number of judicial confirmations for Trump to 170 nominations since taking office in January 2017. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
McConnell also defended his decision to dedicate weeks of floor time to judicial nominations, arguing that district court picks previously were able to clear the Senate without having to overcome time-consuming procedural hurdles. 
 
"If our Democratic colleagues want to spend less time voting on district judges, they should take it up with the Democratic leader who is forcing us to take cloture vote after cloture vote," McConnell said. 
 
Republicans changed the rules earlier this year to cut down on the amount of debate time district court nominees face. Under the change, once they overcome an initial procedural hurdle they can be confirmed after two additional hours of debate; before the rules change they faced an additional 30 hours of debate. 
 
McConnell views judicial nominations as a top priority, and the party's best shot at having a long-term influence on the direction of the country. Republicans have made it a priority to nominate young, conservative judicial picks who could theoretically hold their lifetime appointments for decades. 
 
Democrats and progressive outside groups have fumed for months arguing that Trump is nominating, and Senate Republicans are confirming, ideologically partisan, unqualified nominees. 
 
"They are putting right-wing judges on the bench. These judges are far away from where the average American is, even far away from the average Republican," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMeadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions Bolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-N.Y.) said during a weekly press conference.
 
 
"I am deeply concerned about the quality of some of these nominations," Coons added during a Senate floor speech. "The American Bar Association ... has ranked nine of Trump's nominees as 'not qualified,' an exceptionally unusual and striking step for them to take." 
 
Sarah Pitlyk, who was confirmed this week to be a judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, was rated as "not qualified" by the American Bar Association. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret Collins Meadows: Bolton manuscript leaked 'to manipulate' senators over witness vote Trump team doubles down despite Bolton bombshell Progressive group targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment witnesses MORE (R-Maine) was the only GOP senator to oppose her nomination, while GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump team doubles down despite Bolton bombshell Bolton upends Trump impeachment trial  Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions MORE (Alaska), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCollins expected to announce Georgia Senate bid GOP senator: Romney trying to 'appease the left' with impeachment witnesses Overnight Health Care: New drug price hikes set stage for 2020 fight | Conservative group to spend M attacking Pelosi drug plan | Study finds Medicaid expansion improved health in Southern states MORE (Ga.) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Bolton sparks internal GOP fight over witnesses Drug price outrage threatens to be liability for GOP MORE (S.D.) missed the vote. 
 
Schumer, asked about her nomination during a weekly press conference, said, "there are many bad nominations, but it's hard to think of one that's as bad as hers."
 
In addition to Pitlyk, the Senate confirmed Sherri Lydon, Richard Ernest Myers, David Barlow, Austin Huffaker, Douglas Russell Cole, John Sinatra and Eric Ross Komitee to be district judges.

McConnell has already teed up two circuit nominations for next week: Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke to serve on the Ninth Circuit.