McConnell tees up five Trump judges after impeachment trial wraps

McConnell tees up five Trump judges after impeachment trial wraps
© Bonnie Cash
With the weeks-long impeachment trial ending Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Whistleblower retaliation: Stop confusing unlawful attacks with politics MORE (R-Ky.) is wasting no time turning the chamber's focus back to his self-professed top priority: confirming judicial nominations. 
 
McConnell teed up five judicial nominations for votes on the Senate floor as the chamber wrapped up its work for the week. 
 
The Senate is expected to take its first procedural vote on the slate Monday evening, when Republicans will need a simple majority to end the debate on Andrew Brasher's nomination to be a judge on the 11th Circuit. 
 
Once Brasher is confirmed, the Senate will turn to the nominations of Joshua Kindred, Matthew Schelp, Joshua Kness and Philip Halpern, all of whom have been picked to be U.S. district judges.
 
The Senate could easily fit all five nominations into its schedule for next week. 

Under a rules change enacted last year, district court nominees need only an additional two hours of debate once they overcome an initial procedural hurdle. 
 
 
If all five are confirmed, that would bring the total number of Trump judicial nominees confirmed since 2017 to 192. 
 
Judicial nominations are a top priority for Republicans, particularly given the divided government. McConnell, even when Republicans controlled the House, argued judges were the party's best shot at having a long-term influence on the direction of the country. 
 
The GOP leader got a shout out from Trump during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
 
"Working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — thank you, Mitch — and his colleagues in the Senate, we have confirmed a record number of 187 new federal judges to uphold our Constitution as written," Trump said during the speech.
 
McConnell was spotted giving the president a small wave from his seat in the audience.