‘If you are thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly urging older, conservative federal judges to retire so that President Donald Trump can replace their positions with ideological allies.
McConnell has been meeting with senior judges to discuss why the best time to retire is now, since the White House and Senate are controlled by Republicans, according to the New York Times, which relied heavily upon anonymous sources for its report.
There are more than 90 judges appointed by these three presidents who are either now eligible or will become eligible this year for senior status, which is a form of retirement. Many of them are on influential appeals courts, according to the Times.
The Times claimed McConnell’s strategy reflects a fear that President Trump could lose in November. But Mike Davis, a former nomination counsel for Senate Republicans who created the Article III Project, a conservative judicial advocacy group, said “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.”
Trump’s judicial appointments have already changed the make-up of the judiciary in meaningful ways. He has placed two justices on the Supreme Court justices, 51 appointees to the nation’s appeals court and hundreds more in the lower courts.
The Senate’s routine confirmation of conservative justices has been so efficient that only one appellate seat has not yet been filled.
“I’d point you back to his long-running mantra of ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” said David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell.
Other Senate Republicans have encouraged senior justices to consider retiring, as well.
“If you are thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who was then the Senate Judiciary Chairman, said back in 2018. “If we have a Democrat Senate, you’re never going to get the kind of people that are strict constructionists.”