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PFAW Statement on McConnell’s Decision to File Cloture on Controversial Nominee Michael Brennan

Press Release
Drew Courtney
People For the American Way
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In response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to file a cloture petition on the nomination of Michael Brennan for Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Marge Baker issued the following statement:

“Senator McConnell’s decision to file cloture on the Brennan nomination over the objection of a home state senator isn’t just another attempt to force a narrow-minded elitist onto the federal bench—it’s a hypocritical move designed to destroy important senate traditions to further that goal. This is just the latest example of McConnell’s willingness to break rules and trash norms in order to pursue his agenda no matter the cost. It’s profoundly disrespectful of Senator Baldwin, the people of Wisconsin and the state’s longstanding bipartisan judicial selection commission.

“Donald Trump has shown again and again that he needs aggressive oversight from Congress, but instead of standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are rushing to tear down any checks and balances that stand in the way of their agenda. They’re not content to push irresponsible legislation and confirm dangerous nominees at every level of government; they insist on destroying what’s left of the Senate’s institutional integrity while they’re at it.”

The blue slip process gives senators the right to weigh in first on judicial nominees from their home states, and determine if the nomination should go forward. One of Brennan’s home-state senators, Tammy Baldwin, has chosen to withhold her blue slip on Brennan. In past administrations, under Republican and Democratic Senate leadership alike, that decision would have prevented Brennan from receiving a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.