Sen. Amy Klobuchar once supported a majority of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the federal judiciary. But this year, the Minnesota Democrat’s backing of them plummeted.
Klobuchar isn’t alone. Every senator running for president has voted far less often for Trump’s judges this year compared with the previous Congress.
Trump’s focus on the federal judiciary has put the issue front and center on the 2020 stage, giving senators vying for the Oval Office another opportunity to please the liberal grassroots and potentially push others in the caucus to resist the president and the GOP’s agenda.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have rejected every Trump judge since this Congress began. Klobuchar, who drew fire from progressives for previously supporting 64 percent of the Trump nominees, supported only 3 percent, according to data provided exclusively by the liberal judicial group Demand Justice.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California supported 6 percent of judges she voted on this Congress, compared with 51 percent previously; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey voted for 49 percent of Trump’s nominees last Congress and 11 percent this year.
“You could ask me about each [nominee] and each one has something wrong with their record,” Gillibrand said. “They’re either unqualified or they have views that are so disproportionately outside the norm that I couldn’t support them.”
Of the 2020 candidates, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado voted for Trump judges the most, at 31 percent this Congress, but still down from 67 percent the previous Congress.
But it’s not just 2020 Democrats. Growing opposition to Trump judges is part of a broader trend within the Senate Democratic Caucus, according to Demand Justice’s data.
Democrats on average are voting far less often for Trump judges. That’s in part because of a pressure campaign from progressive groups like Demand Justice, as well as fewer deals between Republican and Democratic leaders to confirm whole batches of judges on voice votes. Democrats have also blamed the White House for their choice in nominees.