The Senate on Thursday confirmed 12 more of President Donald Trump's judicial nominees, just hours before leaving for Christmas recess.
The final confirmations for 2019 come as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has turned his attention to approving district court nominees, after filling virtually every circuit court vacancy.
The confirmations this week bring the total number of judicial confirmations for 2019 to 20 circuit judges and 67 district judges. Senate Republicans last week confirmed Trump’s 50th circuit judge.
The slew of confirmations in 2019 illustrates the effect of a rules change, when McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option to cut down debate time for lower court nominees and speed up the confirmation process.
The Senate Thursday confirmed Anuraag Singhal to the Southern District of Florida; Karen Spencer Marston to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Daniel Mack Traynor to the District of North Dakota; Jodi W. Dishman to the Western District of Oklahoma; John M. Gallagher to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Bernard Maurice Jones II to the Western District of Oklahoma; Mary Kay Vyskocil to the Southern District of New York; Kea Whetzal Riggs to the District of New Mexico; Robert J. Colville to the Western District of Pennsylvania; Lewis J. Liman to the Southern District of New York; Gary Richard Brown to the Eastern District of New York; and Stephanie Dawkins Davis to the Eastern District of Michigan.
In addition, the Senate Wednesday confirmed Matthew Walden McFarland to the Southern District of Ohio.
The district judges all had backing from their home-state senators.
Prior to Thursday's votes, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted that some of the judges had backing from Democrats.
“I’m hoping we can end the year where they get some of their judges and we get some of ours,” Graham said.