For just the fourth time in history, and for the second time in two days, the Senate confirmed a federal judiciary nominee over the objections of both home-state senators Thursday. Michael Park was confirmed to the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by a 52 to 41 vote. That follows the confirmation of Joseph Bianco to the same court on Wednesday.
Neither of the judges was supported by New York’s Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Previously, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through nominees over the objections of Oregon and Washington Democrats, a new and destructive norm for the Senate. But these two judges are particularly dangerous and will be in a particularly strong position to help Donald Trump. Two more vacancies are likely to come up on this court by the end of June, putting Trump in a position to flip this circuit to a majority appointed by Republicans. Park’s obsequiousness to Trump isn’t going to be in question. He filed a friend of the court brief supporting Trump’s efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
This circuit is important because it’s New York, where numerous investigations of Trump’s finances are playing out, and where momentous decisions about those investigations could be made.
A larger issue, if there could be one, is what McConnell and Trump are doing to both the Senate and the judiciary as institutions. When it comes time for Democrats to consider court-packing plans, they need to remember this week.