On Saturday, shortly after the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh, Majority Leader McConnell filed for cloture on the nominations of Eric Dreiband and Jeff Clark. Both have been nominated for Assistant Attorney General positions — Eric to head the Civil Rights Division, Jeff to head the Environmental and Natural Resources Division.
For Democrats, McConnell’s move surely added insult to injury. The Dems bitterly oppose Eric and Jeff because both are strong conservatives who know what they are doing. As such, they have the ability to steer these two key bastions of Justice Department leftism in a direction consistent with the views of the current president. That’s how it’s supposed to work in a democracy.
For Republicans, the question is: what took so long? The two were nominated more than 15 months ago. A floor vote is long overdue.
Obviously, confirming court of appeals judges took precedence over confirming Eric and Jeff, but this reality does not come close to explaining the entire delay. The Senate seemed to be waiting for a greater sense of urgency from the White House over these two nominations, and not just in relation to judges. Absent that sense of urgency, the Majority Leader may have been reluctant to do the heavy lifting associated with confirming two such controversial nominees.
In any event, the lifting now has occurred. Though one can seldom be sure about these things, McConnell apparently has the votes to confirm Eric and Jeff.
Their long wait, I take it, will soon be over. The Justice Department will be better for it.