Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leaves the Senate chamber in the Capitol after making remarks on the House's impeachment of President Trump on Thursday, December 19, 2019. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Amid Impeachment Furor, GOP 'Hijacking' of Courts Continues as McConnell Rams Through 12 More Lifetime Trump Judges

"Trump's hijacking of our judiciary will be his most enduring legacy, and it will continue to threaten everything progressives care about long after he leaves office."

Jake Johnson

The right-wing takeover of the U.S. courts continued apace Thursday as the Republican-controlled Senate, with the help of some Democrats, quietly confirmed a dozen more of President Donald Trump's lifetime judicial nominees hours before leaving for Christmas recess.

"While all eyes were understandably on impeachment, Mitch McConnell's conveyor belt churned out a shocking number of judges this week in what remains the most underrated story of the Trump era."
—Christopher Kang, Demand Justice

The confirmations received little media attention amid Trump's impeachment and the 2020 Democratic debate, but progressives warned the consequences could reverberate for generations.

"While all eyes were understandably on impeachment, Mitch McConnell's conveyor belt churned out a shocking number of judges this week in what remains the most underrated story of the Trump era," Christopher Kang, chief counsel for advocacy group Demand Justice, said in a statement.

"Trump's hijacking of our judiciary will be his most enduring legacy," added Kang, "and it will continue to threaten everything progressives care about long after he leaves office."

The Senate has now confirmed 187 of Trump's disproportionately young and ultra-conservative judicial picks, putting them in a position to reshape U.S. law on reproductive rights, climate, and other areas for decades to come.

According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, three of the judges confirmed this week refused to say whether Brown v. Board of Education—the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ruled racial segregation of public schools unconstitutional—was correctly decided.

Those judges, according to a list (pdf) from the Leadership Conference, are Mary Kay Vyskocil and Lewis Liman of the Southern District of New York and Gary Brown of the Eastern District of New York.

"McConnell is rushing to confirm as many lifetime nominees as he can to entrench his terrifying agenda."
—Lena Zwarensteyn, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
"McConnell is rushing to confirm as many lifetime nominees as he can to entrench his terrifying agenda," Lena Zwarensteyn, Fair Courts campaign director at The Leadership Conference, said in a statement. "With his caucus' full participation, he will stop at nothing to achieve through the courts what his party cannot accomplish legislatively: erasing the progress the nation has made to protect civil rights."

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, Trump—with the help of the right-wing Federalist Society—has appointed around one in every five federal judges.

"With shameful glee, McConnell has transformed twenty percent of the federal judiciary already, and is intentionally installing individuals who have demonstrated hostility to the communities whose civil and human rights are most at risk under this administration," said Zwarensteyn.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo