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With Nation's Attention on Democratic Debate, McConnell Advances Over a Dozen Lifetime Trump Judges

"Confronting this generational shift in our courts will be one of the most pressing issues for the next president—in fact, the viability of his or her entire agenda depends on it."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks during a news conference following a weekly policy luncheon on April 2, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

While the nation's attention was fixed on the Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit, the Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday night advanced more than a dozen of President Donald Trump's lifetime judicial appointees.

As Common Dreams reported earlier Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is rushing to confirm 19 Trump judges before the chamber breaks for recess at the end of the week.

Tuesday night, the Senate voted to end debate on 11 of the president's judicial appointees, setting up confirmation votes for as early as Wednesday evening.

The Senate also voted to confirm Sean Jordan for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and James Wesley Hendrix for the Northern District of Texas.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) were the only Democrats to vote yes on Jordan.

Hendrix was confirmed with the support of 38 Democrats. Of the senators who voted, Sen. Richard Blumental (D-Conn.) was the lone Democrat to vote no.

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Despite the long-term consequences of Trump and McConnell's efforts to move the federal judiciary even further to the right, CNN moderators did not ask the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates a single question about the nation's courts during the debate Tuesday night.

In a letter sent ahead of Tuesday's debate, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups urged CNN to press the Democratic White House hopefuls on their plans for the federal judiciary, which Trump and McConnell are stacking with overwhelmingly young right-wing judges.

"Confronting this generational shift in our courts will be one of the most pressing issues for the next president—in fact, the viability of his or her entire agenda depends on it," stated the letter, signed by Demand Justice, the American Constitution Society, Committee for a Fair Judiciary, and Take Back the Court.

"The next Democratic president's success will be determined by whether he or she is able to counter the extreme right takeover of our third branch of government," the letter continued. "Democratic voters—and all Americans—deserve to know which candidates are prepared to meet this challenge and how they will do so. We cannot afford another debate where this critical issue is ignored."

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