McConnell doesn’t miss a beat, blows past impeachment/Pelosi distraction with 5 judicial nominees

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unruffled by grandstanding theatrics by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats and is wasting no time moving on.

The Kentucky Republican brushed aside Pelosi’s name-calling and State of the Union drama to get the Senate back to the business that matters, lining up five judicial nominees for confirmation votes next week.

(Image: CSPAN screenshot)

Before Democrats even know what hit them following the Senate vote to acquit President Trump on two articles of impeachment on Wednesday, McConnell had already set up four district court nominees and one federal appeals court candidate to be voted on by senators returning to Washington next week.

Senators are set to debate the nomination of Andrew Brasher for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A simple majority will confirm Brasher and tee up debates to confirm U.S. district judge nominations of  Joshua Kindred for the District of Alaska; Matthew Thomas Schelp for the Eastern District of Missouri; Joshua Kness for the Northern District of Illinois and Philip Halpern for the Southern District of New York.

A rules change enacted last year could make it possible for all five nominees to be confirmed next week.

McConnell has carved out a reputation for confirming an impressive number of conservative judges, including two Supreme Court judges, earning a shout out from the president himself during Tuesday’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 his speech.

McConnell’s strategy revealed his focus on getting past the impeachment of the president to get back to business as usual, even as Democrats had a meltdown over the Senate vote and Trump’s speech, which was disrespected by Pelosi and her caucus throughout the night. At the end of Trump’s address, the California Democrat tore her copy of the speech for dramatic effect, garnering cheers from Democrats and condemnation from GOP lawmakers and others.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz filed an ethics complaint against Pelosi for her stunt, suggesting she may have violated House rules and even broken the law. And McConnell took a shot at Pelosi in his Senate floor speech Wednesday after she had declared that she “would refuse to accept” an impeachment acquittal.

“Perhaps she will tear up the verdict like she tore up the State of the Union address,” he quipped.

Pelosi trashed the GOP leader along with the president and Senate Republicans in a statement following the Senate vote and in her weekly press conference on Thursday.

“Today, the President and Senate Republicans have normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances of our Constitution,” she dramatically declared in her statement, adding that “the President has been impeached forever.”

Completely lacking self-awareness, the Speaker went on to slam McConnell as “a rogue leader in the Senate who would cowardly abandon his duty to uphold the Constitution.”

In a press conference that sometimes bordered on the bizarre, Pelosi slammed the president’s State of the Union address as “reality TV,” defended her move to rip the speech copy, and even suggested Trump seemed “sedated” that night.

Pelosi also declared that, despite the Senate vote to acquit the president on Wednesday, he will forever bear the “scar” of impeachment.

Frieda Powers

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