Connect with us

Politics

PM faces down rebel MPs to win vote on care tax rise

Published

on

Politics

With public defenders as judges, Biden quietly makes history on the courts

Published

on

WASHINGTON — While President Joe Biden‘s economic agenda is mired in Democratic infighting, the Senate is quietly making history with his judicial nominees.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 52-41 Monday to confirm Gustavo Gelpi to be a judge on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Boston, making him the fifth new circuit judge with a background as a public defender on Biden’s watch.

Set against recent history, that is a remarkable statistic. President Barack Obama confirmed five former public defenders to the appeals courts over his entire eight years, according to the progressive judicial group Demand Justice. Biden has matched that in his first nine months.

Overall, Gelpi is Biden’s eighth new judge with experience as a public defender. That is as many as presidents Donald Trump, Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton landed in their first years combined, said Chris Kang, the chief counsel of Demand Justice.

“It really is amazing how far Biden has shifted the paradigm,” Kang said. “This is going to be an important part of his legacy.”

With the latest confirmation, Biden is outpacing every other president since Richard Nixon in confirming circuit judges, who have the last word in most federal cases — although the pace will be difficult to maintain.

One of his new appellate judges is Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a former public defender who is widely seen by people close to Biden as a future Supreme Court contender.

Progressives have lamented the long-standing tendency of presidents in both parties to prioritize corporate lawyers and prosecutors for federal judgeships, arguing that the lack of diversity in experience on the courts has created blind spots in the justice system.

Kang, who worked on judicial selection in the Obama White House, recalled having to grapple with criticism Obama got for a lack of professional diversity among his nominees.

Biden’s White House counsel, Dana Remus, has sought to correct that early by making it clear that Biden intends to change course and nominate more public defenders and civil rights lawyers.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has put a high priority on judicial nominations, and he has kept the chamber’s 50 Democratic-voting members on board to push through Biden’s judges, sometimes without any Republican votes. While he has struggled to advance major parts of Biden’s agenda that are subject to the filibuster, judicial nominees are exempt from the 60-vote rule.

Overall, Gelpi is Biden’s 17th confirmed judge under Article III of the Constitution — six on appeals courts and 11 on district courts. The next nominee, Christine O’Hearn, the selection to be a district judge in New Jersey, is expected to get a final vote Tuesday. Dozens more nominees await votes.

Some conservatives are raising alarms about Biden’s impact on the courts.

Carrie Severino, the president of the right-leaning Judicial Crisis Network, said liberal groups that spent “millions of dollars to help elect Joe Biden have become quite vocal in demanding judicial nominees who will help promote their liberal policy aims from the bench, and he has shown a willingness to do whatever he can to appease those groups.”

When he was the majority leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., used aggressive tactics to push through a remarkable 234 judges in Trump’s four years. They included three to the Supreme Court, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority that is poised to hear major cases soon about abortion rights and gun laws.

That has lit a fire under the progressive movement.

“Democrats are all taking the courts so much more seriously, and with greater urgency, than ever before,” Kang said. “This is a reflection of President Biden and Vice President Harris and [White House chief of staff] Ron Klain’s focus on the courts.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Jayapal and Manchin meet for first time as negotiations over spending bill ramp up

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, met with Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday for the first time since broader negotiations over the Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar spending bill began, sources familiar with the meeting said.

Jayapal, D-Wash., and Manchin, D-W.Va., who have been on opposite sides of the debate for several months, had a two-hour discussion about President Joe Biden’s social spending package. Democrats plan to pass the package through a procedural measure known as reconciliation without Republican support.

The Democrats’ effort to pass the legislation has highlighted intraparty conflicts over the price tag and its proposals. Jayapal and Manchin laid out their priorities for the bill and did not get into a back-and-forth over how to resolve their differences, a source said.

Their offices declined to comment.

They notably met after it was reported that a sweeping climate measure, known as the Clean Energy Performance Program, is likely to be removed from the spending plan because of Manchin’s opposition.

No final decision has been made. The administration and progressive lawmakers have pushed for the $150 billion program to be in the social spending bill.

Manchin has also voiced concerns about the Democrats’ infrastructure package, which progressives would like to pass in tandem with the social spending plan. Late last month, for example, Jayapal marshaled about half of her 95-member caucus to oppose the infrastructure bill if it came to a vote, fearing that moderate Democrats would try to curtail the social spending bill once the infrastructure proposal passed.

The Democratic-controlled House and Senate have a self-imposed deadline of Oct. 31 to pass both bills, which have the support of Democrats and remain likely to pass in some form.

But the size of the social safety net bill is a sticking point among Democrats. Moderates are pushing for a pared-down version, while progressives insist that the bill’s price tag will boost an economy upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchin, who has said he is proceeding with caution on any additional spending, told reporters Monday that he was skeptical that Congress could meet the Oct. 31 deadline.

“There’s an awful lot that’s going on. I don’t know how that would happen,” he said.

However, White House officials are urging lawmakers to get a deal to get done quickly.

Biden spoke with Manchin by phone Monday afternoon, said two people familiar with the conversation. It was among a number of meetings and calls Biden had Monday to try to break the stalemate in Congress over his infrastructure and social spending bills, one of the sources said.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat from Arizona who is also at the center of the disagreement, plans to visit Biden at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the reconciliation infrastructure package, a spokesperson for Sinema said.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Jayapal and Manchin meet for first time as negotiations over spending bill ramp up

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, met with Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday for the first time since broader negotiations over the Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar spending bill began, sources familiar with the meeting said.

Jayapal, D-Wash., and Manchin, D-W.Va., who have been on opposite sides of the debate for several months, had a two-hour discussion about President Joe Biden’s social spending package. Democrats plan to pass the package through a procedural measure known as reconciliation without Republican support.

The Democrats’ effort to pass the legislation has highlighted intraparty conflicts over the price tag and its proposals. Jayapal and Manchin laid out their priorities for the bill and did not get into a back-and-forth over how to resolve their differences, a source said.

Their offices declined to comment.

They notably met after it was reported that a sweeping climate measure, known as the Clean Energy Performance Program, is likely to be removed from the spending plan because of Manchin’s opposition.

No final decision has been made. The administration and progressive lawmakers have pushed for the $150 billion program to be in the social spending bill.

Manchin has also voiced concerns about the Democrats’ infrastructure package, which progressives would like to pass in tandem with the social spending plan. Late last month, for example, Jayapal marshaled about half of her 95-member caucus to oppose the infrastructure bill if it came to a vote, fearing that moderate Democrats would try to curtail the social spending bill once the infrastructure proposal passed.

The Democratic-controlled House and Senate have a self-imposed deadline of Oct. 31 to pass both bills, which have the support of Democrats and remain likely to pass in some form.

But the size of the social safety net bill is a sticking point among Democrats. Moderates are pushing for a pared-down version, while progressives insist that the bill’s price tag will boost an economy upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchin, who has said he is proceeding with caution on any additional spending, told reporters Monday that he was skeptical that Congress could meet the Oct. 31 deadline.

“There’s an awful lot that’s going on. I don’t know how that would happen,” he said.

However, White House officials are urging lawmakers to get a deal to get done quickly.

Biden spoke with Manchin by phone Monday afternoon, said two people familiar with the conversation. It was among a number of meetings and calls Biden had Monday to try to break the stalemate in Congress over his infrastructure and social spending bills, one of the sources said.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat from Arizona who is also at the center of the disagreement, plans to visit Biden at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the reconciliation infrastructure package, a spokesperson for Sinema said.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending