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Senators Confirm 15 Judges in Final Votes Before Midterm Elections

by Countable | 10.11.18

Senators cast their final votes in advance of the midterm elections on Thursday by confirming 15 federal judges and several executive branch nominees. The flurry of confirmations allows a number of senators in tight re-election battles to put their work in the Capitol behind them and hit the campaign trail.

The chamber’s leaders, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), struck a deal to allow votes on the confirmation of roughly the number of judges that could’ve been confirmed between now and Election Day had the Senate remained in session and Democrats used the procedural roadblocks available to them.

Faced with Republicans keeping the Senate in session for another week or two to process additional nominations, Schumer and Democrats opted to take a deal that’d allow senators in close re-election contests to go home and campaign. One such lawmaker, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), missed Thursday’s votes to campaign while others like Sens. Mike Donnelly (D-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) would’ve faced similar decisions had the Senate remained in session.

Of the 15 judges confirmed Thursday, three were to circuit courts while the remaining 12 were to district courts. Will one of the judges be coming to a courthouse near you? Here’s the list:

  • Nomination of David Porter to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit Confirmed 50-45.
  • Nomination of Ryan Nelson to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit Confirmed 51-44.
  • Nomination of Richard Sullivan to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Confirmed 79-16.
  • Nomination of William Ray II to be U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia Confirmed 54-41.
  • Nomination of Liles Burke to be U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama Confirmed 55-40.
  • Nomination of Michael Juneau to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana Confirmed 54-41.
  • Nomination of Mark Saalfield Norris, Sr. to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee Confirmed 51-44.
  • Nomination of Eli Richardson to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee Confirmed 52-43.
  • Nomination of Thomas Kleeh to be U.S. District for the Northern District of West Virginia Confirmed 65-30.
  • Nomination of Peter Phipps to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania Confirmed by voice vote.
  • Nomination of Susan Brnovich to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Arizona Confirmed by voice vote.
  • Nomination of Chad Kenney to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Confirmed by voice vote.
  • Nomination of Jeremy Kernodle to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas Confirmed by voice vote.
  • Nomination of James Hanlon to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana Confirmed by voice vote.
  • Nomination of Lance Walker to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Maine Confirmed by voice vote.

(If you’re wondering who the two absent senators aside from Heitkamp were, Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) were in their home state to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence ― more on that here.)

You can see the other nominees who were confirmed today at our latest This Week in Congress post.

Tell your senators whether you support these nominations and what you want to see addressed when they return after the election, then share your thoughts below!

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / sharrocks)

Countable

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(180)
  • Kris
    10/12/2018
    ···

    I am a Democrat and I am embarrassed that Schumer agreed to this. It is absurd to have an all out war about a SCOTUS appointment and then 2 weeks later just blow through other judicial appointments so they can go home and campaign. CAMPAIGN? For the job you just abdicated in order to go home and try to get re-elected? Am I the only one who sees the flaw in this logic?

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  • Phyllis
    10/12/2018
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    We had all kinds of problems in Obama's last term trying to seat a judge...yet, here we are with a mid-term elections looming---all of the sudden Republicans become motivated to work? Interesting. I will do everything in my power to make sure friends, family & neighbors get to the polls to VOTE YOU OUT!!!

    Like (60)
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  • Marc
    10/12/2018
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    With the election only a month away, they should pause to let the PEOPLE decide

    Like (37)
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  • Angie
    10/12/2018
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    Nothing should be voted on till after the midterms!

    Like (29)
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  • J. scott
    10/12/2018
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    Shameful these judges are judges they all refused to act on during the Obama Administration.

    Like (24)
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  • Erickson
    10/12/2018
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    Remember, remember the 6th of November. The only way the GOP can win is by cheating.

    Like (23)
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  • John
    10/12/2018
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    Opposing anything Republicans do.

    Like (21)
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  • Pete
    10/12/2018
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    To everyone say that this is a disgrace. Grow up. They are doing their job.

    Like (20)
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  • Mike
    10/12/2018
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    Thank you Senators for working hard and confirming our judges

    Like (19)
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  • Ron
    10/12/2018
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    Amazing! I am shocked that the typical democrat followers of countable would rather their representatives stay in DC rather than campaign to try and keep their jobs. Typically, they failed to read the posting. The agreement was to confirm only the number of judges that would have been confirmed, had the democrats used all of their stall tactics allowed. The same people would have been confirmed regardless. It just would have taken the full session to do it, preventing them from campaigning. That’s ok though, most of the democrats won’t be returning anyway.

    Like (15)
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  • Charles
    10/12/2018
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    Get a grip people, there are no surprises here

    Like (14)
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  • Jorge
    10/12/2018
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    Good #MAGA

    Like (13)
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  • David
    10/12/2018
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    Outstanding, confirm more!

    Like (11)
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  • J. scott
    10/12/2018
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    Shameful these judges are judges they all refused to act on during the Obama Administration.

    Like (10)
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  • PhilAlban
    10/12/2018
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    So, the Senators avoided doing their jobs properly and made a "deal" that probably will hurt us (rubber-stamping conservative federal judges), so they could campaign for re-election and continue to do this sort of thing after re-election. Rinse and repeat. Is there anything more illustrative of the fact that it's impossible to have faith that any incumbent senator will do their job (represent citizens and their concerns)? Why should we re-elect someone who makes deals to do a shoddy job against our own interests?

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  • Trent
    10/12/2018
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    Do it.

    Like (9)
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  • ConservativeGuy
    10/12/2018
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    So much vitriol from folks. Kinda sad.

    Like (8)
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  • Stickyfingers
    10/12/2018
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    Vote Republican and save America’s sovereignty. The fascist liberals want your guns, open borders, make 11 million illegal migrants US citizens, they want socialism and they think it’s cool to kneel during the National anthem. Vote Republican and save America

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  • Patricia
    10/12/2018
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    Wait until after election.

    Like (7)
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  • Tom
    10/12/2018
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    Good finally some judges that won’t follow the Socialist agenda of the Democratic Party

    Like (6)
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