All Senate Judiciary Dems Ditch Judicial Nominations Hearing

US Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), speaks with her Senate Judiciary Committee democratic members outside the US Supreme Court on September 4, 2018, before the hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to t... US Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), speaks with her Senate Judiciary Committee democratic members outside the US Supreme Court on September 4, 2018, before the hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. - President Donald Trump's newest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is expected to face punishing questioning from Democrats this week over his endorsement of presidential immunity and his opposition to abortion. Some two dozen witnesses are lined up to argue for and against confirming Kavanaugh, who could swing the nine-member high court decidedly in conservatives' favor for years to come. Democrats have mobilized heavily to prevent his approval. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 17, 2018 12:28 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Just when it seemed the partisan divide on the Senate Judiciary Committee couldn’t get much worse, it did.

Every Democrat on the panel skipped a Wednesday hearing on judicial nominations. The Democrats said the hearing should have been canceled because the Senate is not in session ahead of next month’s election.

Republican Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he had already delayed the hearing at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat. He said he wouldn’t agree to a “last-minute withdrawal.”

Republicans also said that objections to the hearing came just a week before the hearing date and after families of the judicial nominees had already made travel arrangements. They also released the attendance record of Democratic lawmakers on the committee for previous confirmation hearings held this year to highlight how lightly attended some of the hearings were.

The dispute comes after the confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a bruising fight that played out on the Judiciary Committee. The panel advanced Kavanaugh’s nomination after hearing testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault. Kavanaugh denied the allegation.

The Senate has so far confirmed 84 of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, and Republicans are eager to confirm more. By comparison, the Senate confirmed 60 of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees in his first two years.

Six prospective federal judges testified at Wednesday’s hearing, most notably Allison Jones Rushing, 36, of North Carolina, who is nominated to serve on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Grassley arranged for Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., to chair the hearing. Grassley did not attend.

Trump and Republicans senators have cited judicial confirmations as one of their biggest success stories. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that “what we’re doing in the area of the court, I think, is the most important thing we’re doing.”

Liberal advocacy groups called Wednesday’s hearing a sham.

“Republicans are so eager to remake the federal courts in Trump’s image that they continue to violate Senate traditions, rules, and norms,” said Kristine Lucius of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

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