- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2017

Conservative groups announced a campaign Monday designed to pressure Senate Democrats to sign off on President Trump’s judicial nominees, saying this White House deserves a chance to fill the record number of vacancies remaining across the federal courts.

The Judicial Crisis Network said it will spend $500,000 on digital ads, and they and at least four other conservative organizations will do phone banks and email campaigns, and encourage activists to attend Democratic lawmakers’ town halls. The pressure is building while the Senate is out on recess for roughly two more weeks before returning to D.C.

Mr. Trump entered office with more than 100 federal judicial vacancies to fill, and although eight of his federal judges have been cleared, he still has more than 30 outstanding judicial nominees pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“It’s a hidden scandal. Democrats abusing Senate rules. Using gridlock and obstruction to keep liberals in control of our courts,” the network’s ad says.

Carrie Severino, the organization’s chief counsel, said Democrats are abusing Senate rules to slow-walk Mr. Trump’s nominees.

“Because of their gridlock, there are now far more judicial vacancies than there were when President Trump took office, and he began with a record number,” she said.

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has pushed back at the allegations of obstruction by her party and said her colleagues are simply “doing their due diligence in reviewing these nominees.”

Democrats also say Mr. Trump has been slow to name nominees for many of the federal openings.

Where nominees have been picked, though, Democrats are using all of their procedural tools to extend the debate.

Ms. Severino said she wants to see the Senate adopt a proposal put forward by Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, that would limit debate to 8 hours for each judicial nominee instead of the standard 30 hours called for under the rules.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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