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Via America’s Lawyer: While the media was focused on the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans cut a deal with Senate Democrats to fast track nearly a dozen corporate judicial nominees to the federal bench. Mike Papantonio is joined by Farron Cousins to discuss.


Mike Papantonio: While the media was focused on the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans cut a deal with Senate Democrats to fast track nearly a dozen corporate judicial nominees to the federal bench. Same old shiny thing isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: It’s the media. We’re talking about appointment to the Supreme Court. Here’s what people don’t talk about, so few cases actually make it to the Supreme Court. Where it comes to big volume most cases are decided way down the ladder. Federal judges, district trial judges, appellate court judges, they’re the ones that decide what the laws of this land are. So, while we’ve been screwing around, just everybody’s attention. “Oh, the Supreme Court,” “Supreme Court,” “Supreme Court,” because those are the social issue focuses. While that’s been going on Trump has appointed 26 … And 10 more, by the way, 10 more coming right behind it.

Farron Cousins: Right. That’s 26 in the last two months.

Mike Papantonio: Two months. Excuse me, two months, you’re right.

Farron Cousins: 26 in two months.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, yeah.

Farron Cousins: 23 in the part of the year before the announcement of Kavanaugh, so 49 as of today. Appointed, confirmed, lifetime appointments, these guys are set. 10, or possibly as many as 12, they still don’t know the exact number coming down the pipeline, because you had your Democrats cut this deal with Republicans for no reason-

Mike Papantonio: There was absolutely zero reason to cut the deal.

Farron Cousins: Right. They were in the position of power knowing the mid terms were coming up-

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But instead, without being forced to, rolled over and showed their belly, and said, “Okay, you can do this because this is going to help us.”

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Let’s talk about a couple of things here. First of all, being a lawyer who practices in front of federal judges all the time I know what a federal judge cannot just do about the case that I’m bringing forward, but about the entire project nationally. For example, you got a judge in California on Monsanto. His rulings are horrendous, I mean, his pace is horrendous. An Obama appointee, round-up probably in the Monsanto case is terrifying.

So, here you’ve got a federal judge that can change the whole nature of the way litigation takes place, to the point where we have to avoid that federal judge. We have to actually go to state courts and get the case handled in state courts cause we can’t trust the federal judge. I don’t have anything to do with that obviously, that federal case out in California-

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: It’s the NDL, but I do have to do with state court judges that are changing the policy, where it comes to the dangers of round-up, and what we ought to do, taking on … The point being, these judge appointments at the lower levels are far more important, even than the Supreme Court judge. Would you agree with that?

Farron Cousins: Absolutely, and Republicans understood that, and have for decades. Democrats never caught onto that idea. But Republicans understand that, that’s why they’ve been forcing these people through. Mitch McConnell has done a wonderful job-

Mike Papantonio: Oh-

Farron Cousins: Of sending Trump nominees. Cause Trump doesn’t know who to pick, he’s not a government guy, he doesn’t know these people. So, McConnell, with help from Heritage, Federalist Society is pushing through these pro-corporate anti consumer judges that will do far more damage for a much longer time-

Mike Papantonio: Oh a lifetime!

Farron Cousins: Than Kavanaugh will.

Mike Papantonio: Lifetimes, yeah.

Farron Cousins: But Kavanaugh is horrible. I mean, let’s not overlook that at all.

Mike Papantonio: I’m not in on Kavanagh, don’t get me wrong.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: We’re going to talk about that in just a minute, but the point being, it’s again, the media, it’s all shiny things.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Right now the only thing we can pay attention to is Kavanaugh, and we’re going to ignore the fact that some of the judges that Trump is appointing, they have been evaluated as unqualified by the very agency that’s asked to qualify them. One judge was rated unqualified cause he was so lazy.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Because he couldn’t render decisions, because he never worked. And so, these are the types of things that are happening. I mean, can you imagine being out maneuvered by Mitch McConnell, the turtle man? I mean, can you imagine? But that’s what’s happened here.

Farron Cousins: It is. And listen, Trump inherited 108 lower court vacancies. He’s appointed, I think at least 100. He still has 126 now.

Mike Papantonio: That’s right.

Farron Cousins: I mean, we’re talking about maybe 250 judges by the end of the first term-

Mike Papantonio: Well, let me tell you-

Farron Cousins: That this guy’s going to have.

Mike Papantonio: They’ve made it very clear. This is their proclamation. “We are going to transform the entire judiciary.”

Farron Cousins: And they have.

Mike Papantonio: And they have. That’s what they’re saying right up front. “We’re going to transform the entire judiciary.” Let’s give a couple of examples. Okay, Obamacare. Now, Obamacare was beat up so bad, not in the Supreme Court, but in all of the lower federal courts. To where, there was a time where it almost became a disaster, may still be a disaster. The point is, here was legislation that improved the lives of a lot of Americans. Whichever side you’re on, you’ve got to argue, there was some improvements.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: But federal judges with ideology. See, we want to think that a federal judge doesn’t have an ideology, that somehow they’re above the fray. Most of these federal judges come up through the political process. A lot of them are just purely political acts. They’ve never tried a case, they’ve never been a judge in any capacity, and they’re appointed to these federal judgeship’s for life. That’s the intent of what the Republicans want to do in transforming this judiciary.

Farron Cousins, thanks a lot. Stories, they get more and more interesting every week as this Trump Administration marches on.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.