Flake Votes 'No,' Forcing Republicans to Cancel Confirmation of Judges Over Mueller
Jordan Kirkland - November 29th, 2018
One of President Donald Trump's greatest successes has been the vast amount of conservative nominees that he has nominated during his tenure as president. One would think that Republicans would be happy with these lists of well-qualified nominees. But there is one prominent GOP member that will vote against these judges to push their own agenda.
Late Wednesday, outgoing Sen.Jeff Flake (R-AZ) continued to be a thorn in the side of President Donald Trump, forcing Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to cancel a meeting in the process of confirming dozens of judges.
Crossing a new line, Flake threatened to vote against all judicial nominees unless he gets a vote on legislation to protect Robert Mueller.
The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on 21 nominees — six nominees for the U.S. courts of appeals and 15 nominees for federal district courts — for judgeship, but Flake had other plans. Flake threatened to torpedo judges unless Congress voted on legislation to prevent the firing of Special Counsel Mueller.
Many, however, believe that Flake's commitment is unconstitutional, violating the Executive Vesting Clause of Article II of the Constitution, which gives the president all law enforcement power in the federal government. Nevertheless, Flake is serious, threatening to vote against all judicial nominees until lawmakers voted on the legislation to protect Mueller.
Flake's ultimatum is damaging to Trump's agenda, causing Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to cancel meeting that were scheduled on Thursday for the nominees that would be up for confirmation. As it stands, Flake can block all judicial nominees from being sent for a confirmation vote on the Senate floor because he is the key vote in the Judiciary Committee, which has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
On Wednesday, Republicans defeated Flake's bill protecting the investigation of special counsel Mueller.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) blocked the bill protecting Mueller by arguing that doing so would undermine separation of powers between the three branches of government.
“Prosecutorial authority of the United States belongs in the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice answers to the President of the United States. Its principle officers consist of people appointed by the president, serving at the pleasure of the president, after being confirmed by the United States Senate.”
In an interview on CNN Wednesday, Flake addressed Republicans blocking his bill, saying that he didn’t understand why Republicans wouldn’t vote for the bill unless there was a threat of Trump interfering with the investigation.
“The president needs to know that the Senate will not stand for him firing Mueller,” said Flake. “And the message he’s getting right now is that the Senate and the leadership will protect him.”