The Senate on Thursday confirmed the 25th and 26th appellate court judges during President Trump’s tenure, as Republicans continued reshaping the federal judiciary at a record clip.
The Senate approved A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. by a vote of 62 to 28, and backed Julius Ness Richardson on a vote of 81 to 8. Both will join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
The GOP-controlled Senate has been approving appellate court judges at a rapid pace, already setting a record for the most confirmed during a president’s first two years in office. After the confirmation of the two nominees, Republicans highlighted the fact that Trump has chosen one out of seven appeals court judges.
The GOP is installing jurists favored by conservatives who are likely to influence decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion and the environment for decades.
The votes came amid the escalating dispute between Democrats and Republicans over documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time at the George W. Bush White House.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats would sue the National Archives if their Freedom-of-Information request for all records from Kavanaugh’s time as an associate in the White House Counsel’s Office and as White House staff secretary were denied.
Schumer said Republicans had “chosen obfuscation over transparency.”
Republicans have requested Kavanaugh’s White House counsel records but have ruled his staff secretary papers out of bounds. In addition to the documents, Kavanaugh has spent a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, amassing a record of more than 300 legal opinions that Republicans say are the best indicator of the kind of Supreme Court justice he will be.
Schumer said he will meet with Kavanaugh next week and press the nominee on releasing documents.
While much of the focus has been on the Supreme Court, McConnell has secured Senate confirmation of more than two dozen nominees to the 13 U.S. courts of appeals.
McConnell called Quattlebaum and Richardson “two well-qualified judicial nominees.”
As a U.S. attorney, Richardson successfully prosecuted Dylann Roof, who was convicted in the killing of nine black parishioners during a massacre inside a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015.
Richardson also clerked for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.