Pack them in

Time to repair the court system.

President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats are vetting civil rights lawyers and public defenders to nominate as judges, embarking on a mission to shape the courts after Republicans overhauled them in the last four years, according to senior party officials and activists.

They’ve got two years, because the pattern is that Congress flips after one party collars everything. (It’s unfortunate that the Senate ignored that pattern in 2018.)

In addition to forming a new commission to study structural changes to the judiciary, the Biden White House has asked senators to recruit civil rights attorneys and defense lawyers for judgeships. Officials who work on the issue say they’ve seen an outpouring of interest and have begun holding sessions to offer information and advice on navigating the confirmation gauntlet.

“We’ll see the proof of this in President Biden’s first set of nominees. I expect they’re going to look very different than the kind of judges that Democratic presidents have put forward in the past,” said Chris Kang, co-founder of the progressive group Demand Justice and former deputy counsel in the Obama White House. “Their backgrounds will be radically different, overall, and that will make a huge difference in our courts.”

For decades, Republicans have prioritized the courts in elections to stir up their base. Democrats have all but ignored the issue on the campaign trail and are now playing catch-up after their voters watched in horror as former President Donald Trump and Republicans filled up more than one-fourth of the U.S. judiciary with predominantly young conservatives.

You have to wonder why Dems ignored the issue.

White House counsel Dana Remus told senators in a recent letter to recommend candidates for district court vacancies within 45 days of a vacancy, so they can “expeditiously” be considered.

“With respect to U.S. District Court positions, we are particularly focused on nominating individuals whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on the federal bench, including those who are public defenders, civil rights and legal aid attorneys, and those who represent Americans in every walk of life,” Remus wrote in the letter, which was obtained by NBC News.

That means fewer prosecutors and “big corporate lawyers,” who Whitehouse said tend to have a “high-speed lane” to the judiciary. He said plaintiff’s lawyers will get pushback from groups like the Chamber of Commerce, but praised Biden for seeking “professional diversity” along with demographic diversity.

This kind of thing is one reason I so often despair of the Democrats. Big corporate lawyers already have a friendly party, they don’t get to have both parties. I hate the way the Dems are always snuggling up to the rich and powerful instead of acting on behalf of the people who need more help.

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