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Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days

The Senate confirmed eight of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump 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. 
 
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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 SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs 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 CollinsBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (R-Maine) was the only GOP senator to oppose her nomination, while GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski: Trump should concede White House race Graham: Trump should attend Biden inauguration 'if' Biden wins OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent MORE (Alaska), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCollins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs Ossoff, Warnock to knock on doors in runoff campaigns Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (Ga.) and Mike RoundsMike RoundsSenate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Trump keeps tight grip on GOP amid divisions 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.