by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[B]efore President Trump took office, only 3 percent of judicial nominees encountered any opposition at all — not even a single negative vote in the Senate. Recently, however, such opposition jumped to 70 percent by last year and more than 75 percent today.
That’s not all. … [M]ore than 40 percent of all Senate votes against confirmation of judicial nominations, and nearly 40 percent of all votes to filibuster them, had been cast against Trump nominees. Those totals are now 51.3 percent and 53.6 percent, respectively. And yes, that counts all votes cast by all senators on all nominations to life-tenured courts in all of American history.
We can also measure how radically the confirmation process has changed in just a few years by comparing the top Senate opponents to judicial nominations by Trump and President Barack Obama. The top-10 opponents of Trump’s nominations have voted against confirmation an average 81.3 percent of the time.
By comparison, the top-10 opponents of Obama’s nominations voted against confirmation only 9.6 percent of the time. While no Republican senator voted against more than 14 percent of Obama’s judicial nominations, no Democratic senator has voted against less than 26 percent of Trump’s.
Forty Senate Democrats, 85 percent of the caucus, have opposed a majority of Trump judges. Nothing even close to this has ever happened before, no matter which party controlled the Senate or occupied the White House.
Last year, I also observed that 10 current Senate Democrats had also served during the first term of President George W. Bush, the previous Republican president. …
… Looking at whether they also opposed a substantial number of Bush nominations might suggest that what we see today might be just routine partisanship. It isn’t. As of a year ago, these 10 Democrats had voted against an average of 48 percent of Trump’s judicial nominations, compared to only 4 percent of Bush’s nominations.