Hawley suggests Biden elevate Trump-era judges, but warns president is 'in thrall to radical left wing'

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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Friday suggested that President Biden, in a show of bipartisanship, pick Trump-appointed district court judges for seats on appeals courts when his administration begins to make judicial nominations. 

Hawley’s comments came during an interview with Fox News shortly after his speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). 

“I think it all depends on who he nominates. And if he nominates left-wing judges who are not going to adhere to the Constitution, are going to impose their own views, then they for sure are not going to have my support, and I would hope other Republicans wouldn’t support them,” Hawley said. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Oct. 12, 2020. in Washington, D.C. Hawley talked judicial nominations with Fox News on Friday at CPAC. (Susan Walsh – Pool/Getty Images)


“But, you know, Republicans have got to make the good case. This is part of being the opposition. We’ve got to stand up and articulate why in this case, judges who don’t follow the Constitution are bad for the country,” he added. 

Hawley said he had not given any thought to any particular nominees. But he said that if the president wants to show that he is truly committed to bipartisanship, then Biden could elevate trial court judges nominated by former President Donald Trump to appeals courts. 

“I would hope that if President Biden truly wants to be bipartisan, he should nominate some Trump-appointed district court judges who’ve got a strong track record,” Hawley said. “He should nominate them for the Court of Appeals. I’m not holding my breath though.”

With the Senate split 50-50 this term, the committees are divided evenly as well. But under the Senate’s organizing resolution, nominees can move to the Senate floor without a majority vote, meaning Democrats can push through nominees without GOP help if they stick together. On the Senate floor, Vice President Harris can break tie votes. 

Hawley also addressed the potential battle over a Supreme Court vacancy that may open under Biden. 


“I think it depends on, on when it happens. And I think it depends on, again, who gets, who he nominates,” Hawley said. “My concern is what we’ve seen so far from President Biden is he’s totally in thrall to the radical left wing of his party.”

President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Biden has said he’s committed to bipartisanship, but Hawley told Fox News he hasn’t seen much of it from the president. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

Hawley added: “You just look what he’s doing canceling these energy jobs. You see he’s ruling the country by executive order, his ridiculous COVID plan, which has very little to do with COVID. … You look at that track record already, and I assume that whoever he’ll nominate for the bench will be whoever the far-left wing wants. But let’s see.”

Biden has not yet made any nominations to the federal courts, although there are dozens of vacancies that he either inherited from the Trump administration or came open in the early days of his administration. 

At least one more circuit court vacancy will open soon when Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gets confirmed the be the next attorney general. The D.C. Circuit is considered the second-highest court in the nation. And there is widespread speculation that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer may retire at the end of the current term, which concludes in the late spring. 

Hawley also told Fox News on Friday that Trump’s role in the future of the Republican Party is “his to define” and panned the idea of a GOP “civil war.” 


“I have to say to those who are — seem really invested in this whole concept of a Republican civil war, which I think is a D.C. thing. I mean, you can just come here to see there is no civil war. Our voters don’t have any interest in going back,” he said. “They want to go forward. And I can tell you, the same is true at home in Missouri. I mean, there’s a civil war about what? So I think that is… a total waste of time. Is a D.C. consultant-invented thing? I just think people are not interested in it.”

The Biden administration did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Fox Nation is a sponsor of CPAC. 

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