Well, we’re just a couple of days into the lame-duck session of the 115th Congress, and outgoing NeverTrumper Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is planting his flag on defending Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Wednesday, Flake moved to get a vote on the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which would insulate the special counsel from being fired by President Trump. The move was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and in response, Flake says he’s going to hold the president’s judicial nominees for political ransom.
“I have informed the Majority Leader that I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee, or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting a confirmation vote on the floor,” Flake said Wednesday, “until S. 2644 is brought to the full Senate for a vote.”
As evidenced by his efforts during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, all Flake has to do is band together with Democrats on the panel to keep judicial nominees from going to the floor.
But there’s an incredible contradiction in Flake’s “heroic” stand.
Under the guise of posturing as a last line of defense against Big Bad Orange Man™, Flake is using up the remainder of his waning influence in the upper chamber to block his party’s efforts to place more constitutionally minded originalists on the federal bench in order to get a vote on a bill that would further destroy the separation of powers between the three federal branches, if not eventually be ruled outright constitutional. So he’s blocking constitutional judges in order to advance a bill that might well be unconstitutional itself.
In other words, just more of the same that most have come to expect from Flake’s post-Trump congressional tenure.