AP NEWS

Rudolfo Ruiz II, Donald Trump’s 100th judicial nominee, confirmed by Senate

May 2, 2019

Senate Republicans confirmed President Trump’s 100th federal judge on Thursday, speeding through a series of picks this week thanks to the GOP’s “nuclear option” move last month.

Judge Rudolfo Armando Ruiz II was No. 100, approved on a 90-8 vote to a district court in Florida. The Senate also approved two other district judges Thursday, bringing to eight the number of nominees approved in floor votes this week.

That’s a much faster pace than could have happened under the old rules before the nuclear option.

“We’re beginning to make better progress,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican noted this week the nominee to be general counsel for the Energy Department was cleared 68 to 31, the director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 72 to 27, and the assistant secretary of state by 90 to 8, revealing abundant bipartisan support for the picks.

“It would be almost comical if it weren’t a sad reminder of how pointless the past two years’ obstruction has been,” he added.

Prior to the rules change, it would have taken 30 hours of debate before the Senate could hold a confirmation vote for any given nominee.

Senators could exhaust an entire week’s worth of floor time confirming just four or five positions.

The nuclear option, a shortcut to alter the rules by a majority vote, cut the maximum time for most nominees to be debated to just 2 hours.

With that change, the Senate cleared eight nominees this week, six of them being district judges.

Cabinet-level appointees and circuit and Supreme Court nominees still remain at the elevated time.

The change mirrors an agreement Republicans and Democrats had in 2013 for President Obama’s picks.

That arrangement expired in 2015 and Democrats balked at restoring it, saying Mr. Trump’s nominees have been so bad they need extra time to be debated.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and fellow Democrats said the fight is about control of the federal courts.

He says Mr. McConnell is trying to pack the bench with judges who would approve a far-right agenda while blocking liberals’ priorities.