- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Judiciary Committee cleared eight more judicial nominees Thursday, giving GOP leaders a total of 49 judges ready to be confirmed by the whole Senate.

The votes — the first since the committee’s nasty fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh — cleared seven district court nominees and one circuit court pick.

That nominee, Jonathan A. Kobes for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was approved on a party-line vote.

Democrats said Mr. Kobes, who works as a lawyer for Sen. Mike Rounds, South Dakota Republican, wasn’t ready to be a judge, citing the American Bar Association’s rating of him as unqualified.

But Republicans said the ABA evaluator who reviewed the nomination was biased, adding she had also rated a previous 8th Circuit pick, Judge Steven Grasz, unqualified last year.

“This particular evaluator has a long history of liberal activism. So it’s no surprise that the ABA’s two ‘not qualified’ recommendations for circuit-court nominees came for nominees she evaluated,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and committee chairman.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, countered that what the ABA saw was a lack of experience.

“The ABA had trouble finding enough in his record to make a thorough evaluation,” said Ms. Feinstein of California. “This should really be concerning to all of us.”

Two of the district judges approved Thursday were first picked by President Barack Obama, had their nominations expire but were renominated by President Trump. They were Stephanie A. Gallagher, picked for a seat in Maryland, and Mary S. McElroy, for a judgeship in Rhode Island.

Mr. Grassley has called for the Senate to stay in session and confirm all 49 pending judicial nominees before the lawmakers head home for the midterms.

“Work comes [before] campaigning,” the chairman tweeted.

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

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