President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats said they will use the next two years to “repair the courts”—a phrase that they have adopted to disguise their intention to abandon precedent and fill the federal judiciary with Democratic Party activists.
“I call it repair the courts,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, in an interview. “We have to make sure that we are filling vacancies with credible, neutral, fair-minded judges, rather than the political operatives that we saw so many of in the Trump years.”
With a Senate split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris wielding the tie-breaking vote, the Democrats can confirm all of Biden’s judicial nominees, NBC News reported.
Democrats hope to fill the judicial system—circuit courts, district courts, appellate courts, and the Supreme Court—with civil rights lawyers and public defense attorneys who share their progressive agenda.
“We’ll see the proof of this in President Biden’s first set of nominees. I expect they’re going to look very different than the kind of judges that Democratic presidents have put forward in the past,” said Chris Kang, co-founder of the progressive group Demand Justice and former deputy counsel in the Obama White House.
“Their backgrounds will be radically different overall, and that will make a huge difference in our courts,” he said.
Some congressional Democrats expect the 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer, who President Bill Clinton nominated, to retire this year, which could launch another bitter and divisive confirmation fight.
To accomplish the Democratic Party’s judicial goals, Biden established a commission to study radical alterations to the system, such as increasing the number of Justices of the Supreme Court.
Another proposed change would eliminate the “blue slip” procedure, which has existed in some form for more than 100 years.
The blue slip policy gives senators an authoritative voice in the selection of judges for their home states.
There are about 50 judicial vacancies that Biden could fill in the next two years, before Republicans have a chance to retake the Senate and stall his nominees.