In a party line vote, the US Senate voted Thursday to confirm President Trump’s most controversial judicial candidate to date.
This is John Bush, a lawyer and political blogger from Kentucky whose articles denigrated gay rights and compared the Supreme Court decision on abortion in Roe deer v. Wade to his pro-slavers 1857 Dred Scott decision.
And he’s now a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the 6th Circuit.
Blogging under a false name, Bush has published more than 400 articles, often citing right-wing media reports containing conspiracy theories and false information, such as the claim that former President Barack Obama was not born in the USA.
During his confirmation hearing last week, Bush called his blog “political activity” and promised that he would not put his politics on the bench.
When Bush said he would follow Supreme Court rulings upholding a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Reminded Bush he was under oath. And Senator John Kennedy, R-La., Added caustically that after reviewing Bush’s blogs, he was “not impressed.”
Shortly after the hearing, a clearly disgusted Kennedy said he was unsure how he would vote on the nomination, but on Thursday he joined other Republican members of the Senate to vote to confirm the candidate.
Few observers believed that Kennedy would ultimately vote against Bush’s confirmation given that Bush is from Kentucky and his nomination was made not only by Trump but behind the scenes by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. . Crossing your own party leader is not something senators like to do, and Kennedy did not.
The final vote was 51-47, with Senator John McCain the Republican absent.
Bush is Trump’s fourth judicial candidate to obtain confirmation. Twenty-two applications are pending. Including these 22, there are 135 federal judicial positions to be filled. It is much more than usual. When President George W. Bush left office, there were 54 vacancies. But in the last few years of the Obama administration, when Republicans controlled the Senate, they blocked dozens of Obama’s presidential candidates, which explains the large number of vacancies now.
Trump has actively sought to appoint judges who are not only conservative but also young and capable of long-sitting, erasing and quickly surpassing the gains Obama has made in his judicial appointments over two terms.