GOP Senators Announce Plan On Nominees

June 13, 2024

For the past year, Americans have witnessed a series of indictments against Donald Trump in four districts known for their Democratic leanings, resulting in around 91 felony charges. This sequence of events highlights what many see as a highly weaponized Department of Justice, unlike anything the country has previously encountered. As President Joe Biden appears increasingly frail and cognitively compromised, Democrats seem desperate to retain power, relying on legal tactics to maintain their hold. However, it looks like Senate Republicans are reaching their limit and are no longer willing to play along.

On June 13, a group of GOP Senators, spearheaded by Sen. J.D. Vance, and including Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Eric Schmitt (R-MO), announced a hold on several of President Biden’s nominees in response to what they describe as “radical lawfare” against Trump. These holds affect various judicial nominees as well as pending nominations for positions such as the deputy undersecretary of the Treasury and the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).


The Senators specified that this hold would apply to nominees who had supported legal actions against Trump, advocated for censorship of Trump, or suggested that the prosecutions were reasonable. Among the affected nominees are Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for the U.S. delegation to the U.N. General Assembly, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for the World Health Organization Board, and former Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) for the International Civil Aviation Organization. While these positions are relatively minor, the hold will force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to spend valuable Senate floor time on judicial nominations, potentially leaving these other positions unfilled.

 

John Yoo, a law professor at UC-Berkeley and a former official in the George W. Bush administration, recently penned an essay in “National Review” arguing for a form of political payback. Yoo contends that the Democrats’ actions have significantly harmed the presidential office and that Republicans could justify retaliatory legal actions. He cites examples such as a New York state DA prosecuting former President Barack Obama for ordering a drone strike that killed an American citizen, or a California DA prosecuting George W. Bush for the capture of a San Francisco resident fighting for the Taliban. Yoo believes that such tit-for-tat actions could reinforce the independence of the executive branch and restore the rule of law by ensuring similar cases are treated alike.

Even though Trump recently told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, “It (political prosecutions) has to stop because otherwise, we’re not going to have a country,” the actions of Senate Republicans might ignite a broader movement within the party. There’s hope that more Republicans will adopt a firmer stance, realizing that conciliatory tactics have yielded little success. The recent steps by Senate Republicans could be the spark that motivates others to assertively push back against what they see as overreach and unfair treatment, signaling a new era of assertiveness and resistance within the GOP.

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