Embarrassing Nominee is a Symptom of Biden Administration’s Disrespect for Constitution
‘Over and over, on issue after issue, this Democratic Administration sides against the American people, against the Constitution, against the rule of law. The American people deserve an Administration that respects their rights and liberties. That understands our Constitution. That chooses both policies and nominees accordingly.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Judicial nominations and the Constitution:
“The Constitution charges the Senate with giving advice and — if we choose — providing our consent to the President’s judicial appointments.
“The President nominates somebody whom he thinks ought to serve on the federal bench… and the nominee comes here to the Senate for their job interview.
“Sometimes these job interviews make news because they go spectacularly well. When the Judiciary Committee subjected now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to a battery of questions a little over two years ago, she dazzled the country with her force of intellect.
“At one point, hours into a hearing, after being asked multi-part questions about the finer points of constitutional law, now-Justice Barrett was asked to hold up the notepad she’d been provided to keep everything straight — and it was completely blank. She hadn’t even touched it.
“Now, Justice Barrett is an intellectual outlier by any standard. But she is an appropriate stand-in for the judicial nominees the Republican Senates confirmed from 2017 through 2020.
“As one left-leaning analysis admitted in 2020, ‘based solely on objective legal credentials,’ the last administration’s average pick for the federal bench, ‘[had] a far more impressive resume than any past president’s nominees.’ They had more circuit court clerkships. More Supreme Court clerkships. Objectively more experience in the federal judiciary.
“Under President Biden, though… with his nominees… well, you might say things have gone somewhat differently.
“Last week, our colleague on the Judiciary Committee from Louisiana, Senator Kennedy, was quizzing a panel of President Biden’s nominees. He decided to try some very simple questions that should have been beyond basic for anybody nominated to serve as a United States District Judge.
“He asked one nominee, currently a Superior Court Judge in Spokane County, Washington, to simply explain what Article V of our Constitution says.
“That would be the article that explains how the Constitution gets amended.
“Here was the nominee’s response, Mr. President. ‘Article V is not coming to mind at the moment.’
“Senator Kennedy came back with something even more basic. He asked: ‘How about Article II?’
“As high-schoolers across America learn each year, Article II sets up the presidency and the executive branch. It establishes the President’s powers — including the power to nominate this person for the vacancy in question!
“But this sitting judge drew another blank. Article II wasn’t coming to mind either.
“Then she flunked yet another question about legal philosophy and then again she flunked still another question about the most controversial Supreme Court case this term.
“Apparently, when this particular nominee had been asked to list the top 10 most impactful cases she’d litigated in court, she could only come up with six.
“At no stage of her professional career has this judge focused on federal law. At no point has she ever even appeared in federal court.
“Get this: in one of those six most significant cases, she lost to a defendant who forewent legal counsel and took the risky step of representing herself. This wasn’t some rookie mistake, either. The nominee was over a decade out of law school when she lost to an unrepresented party in one of her biggest cases.
“Is this the caliber of legal expert with which President Biden is filling the federal bench? For lifetime appointments?
“Is the bar for merit and excellence really set this low?
“For years, now, Washington Democrats’ rhetoric around judicial nominations has often treated actual qualifications as an afterthought.
“Democrats were not particularly impressed or moved by the top-shelf professional excellence or the academic brilliance that the last Republican Administration’s nominees possessed in spades. And apparently they don’t count those qualities as particularly high priorities now that they’re the ones doing the nominating.
“The American people deserve an impartial judiciary that is full of the finest legal minds our country has on offer. The American people deserve the best and brightest.
“But sadly, the Biden Administration’s questionable constitutional judgment is not limited to some of their judicial nominations.
“In one important constitutional case after another, the Biden Administration and its lawyers have come down on the wrong side of the American people’s rights and liberties, and have gotten slapped down in court as a result.
“Just last year, in the Bruen case, the Biden Administration threw its weight behind unconstitutional New York state restrictions on the Second Amendment that plainly violated citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms. President Biden sent one of his top lawyers to help with the oral arguments.
“But the Democrats got the Constitution backwards and lost the case.
“In West Virginia v. EPA, President Biden went all-in trying to defend massive, unconstitutional overreach by his own Environmental Protection Agency. His Solicitor General argued the case herself. But the Administration lost badly. The plain meaning of our laws and Constitution won out.
“In Carson v. Makin, President Biden fought to maintain unconstitutional anti-religious discrimination in school voucher programs. Again, he lost, and the American people and their Constitution won.
“Washington Democrats had their blatantly unconstitutional vaccine mandate for the private sector tossed out by the Supreme Court. They had their obviously illegal top-down mask mandate for transportation tossed out by a District Judge.
“By the way, when that judge was nominated, Democrats howled that she was unqualified. But with a Supreme Court clerkship under her belt, she had incomparably more experience in federal court than the nominee who failed Senator Kennedy’s bar exam.
“Over and over, on issue after issue, this Democratic Administration sides against the American people, against the Constitution, against the rule of law.
“The American people deserve an Administration that respects their rights and liberties. That understands our Constitution. That chooses both policies and nominees accordingly.”