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Flake's last stand? Or his first? Senate Judiciary Committee may punt votes on judges until January

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10:  Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) speaks to reporters about President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, on Capitol Hill May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Jeff Flake

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s posturing is finally accomplishing something, although that something may amount to no more than a delay of a month, as the Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to give up on voting Donald Trump’s latest round of judicial nominees through to a full Senate vote. After railing against Trump and for decency and accountability for lo these many months, then voting in lockstep with Senate Republicans, Flake is refusing to vote for Trump’s judicial nominees in committee, where his vote is decisive, unless he gets a floor vote on a bill to protect the independence of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The committee’s chairman, Chuck Grassley, plans to scrap a Thursday meeting if Flake doesn’t back off his threat to vote against all pending nominees until he gets a floor vote on a bill to protect special counsels like Robert Mueller from political interference, according to a Grassley aide. This would be the second meeting in consecutive weeks the committee has scrapped, delaying 22 nominees from floor consideration by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, these nominees are all likely to be back for consideration in the next Congress, with Flake gone and an even larger Republican majority in control of the Senate.


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