The one Biden priority Democrats are confident they can get done
5 min read
fairly difficult
Now that the Senate has confirmed most of Biden's Cabinet, Democrats are turning their focus to judges.
"The number's important, but the quality of the nominee is even more important," said Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). "So we're being supportive and careful that the people who come before the committee are ready to serve."

Durbin added that he's urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to "move our judges as quickly as possible." And the party is paying attention, despite the reality that Biden came into office with fewer vacancies than the man he defeated. If Democrats needed a reminder of the urgency of their judicial confirmation efforts, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed to provide it Monday with his pledge to block any Supreme Court nomination Biden made in 2024 if the GOP takes back the majority.

Trump inherited 112 vacant judicial spots, including a Supreme Court seat held open by McConnell in 2016. There are currently 82 vacancies to the federal bench, and Biden so far has announced 19 nominees.

"We're moving very quickly," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a Judiciary panel member. "We will fill as many vacancies that there are. You can't displace the Trump appointees, but we'll fill all the vacancies."

Underscoring Democrats' emphasis on quality — including diversity — as equal to quantity in Biden's judicial slate, his first 19 judicial picks include zero white men. In addition to Jackson — whose eventual selection would make good on Biden's campaign pledge to tap a Black woman for the Supreme Court — the president has tapped the first Muslim judge confirmed to the federal bench in Zahid Quraishi, confirmed last week.

The push to confirm Biden's judges comes as the federal judiciary becomes an ever more potent political issue for the left. During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, expanding the Supreme Court became a litmus test for candidates. And after watching then-Majority Leader McConnell process Trump's judges at a clip that only rivaled former President Jimmy Carter's administration, progressive…
Marianne LeVine
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