Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has taken a strong stance that Republicans should not cooperate with Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s radical judges by allowing a temporary replacement for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Judiciary Committee. In an op-ed published in The Federalist, Cotton asserted that Republicans should resist Democrats’ efforts to fill the courts with nominees who would uphold the “essentially lawless administration.”
Feinstein has faced calls to resign due to her indefinite absence, prompting her to ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to temporarily fill her seat on the influential Judiciary Committee. Michael Thorning, the Structural Democracy Director for the Bipartisan Policy Center, pointed out that this potential replacement would be “unprecedented” and would face significant hurdles, as ten Senate Republicans would need to agree to this request from Schumer on the Senate floor.
Republicans should not assist Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s most radical nominees to the courts. https://t.co/Dq7DFfojVi
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 15, 2023
Cotton referenced a Federalist op-ed piece by Chris Bedford, a former senior editor at the Federalist and soon-to-be executive editor of Common Sense magazine. Bedford explained that if Republicans were to agree to Feinstein’s request, they would only confirm judges who would uphold an “essentially lawless administration.” Bedford reminded readers of the Democrats’ staunch opposition to President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, including their attempts to remove the “blue slip” tradition, allowing senators to hold up nominees from their states.
Biden has faced increasing scrutiny over his judicial nominations. He nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court partly because the courts “don’t look like America.” In addition, some of his judicial nominees have demonstrated a startling lack of basic knowledge about the Constitution during Senate hearings, which raises questions about their qualifications.
In Cotton’s op-ed, he argued that there is no reason for Republicans to cooperate with Schumer and President Biden on their judicial agenda. He pointed out that committee assignments are decided at the beginning of the session, either by unanimous consent or by the vote of at least 60 senators. Cotton urged his fellow Republicans not to let the Democrats’ request pass without a fight.
Moreover, Cotton emphasized that Republicans have nothing to lose by resisting Democrats’ push to replace Feinstein. He stated that independent voters are unlikely to care about this particular issue, Democratic voters are already motivated against Republicans, and Republican voters may appreciate a show of courage in opposing the Democrats’ judicial agenda.
The situation surrounding Feinstein’s request is another reminder of the increasingly partisan politics of federal judicial appointments. As Thorning noted, getting Republican support for a temporary replacement may not be simple. Cotton’s op-ed serves as a rallying cry for Republicans to stand their ground and protect the judiciary’s integrity.