Sen. J.D. Vance (R–OH) is flexing his political muscle and issuing a warning to the Department of Justice (DOJ): “If Merrick Garland wants to use these officials to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents, we will grind his department to a halt.”
Vance isn’t taking the second indictment of former President Donald Trump lying down. In a statement, he said he’ll be putting holds on all DOJ nominees, which means they will require a procedural vote to advance and a final confirmation vote for a full appointment.
This news comes on the heels of other nominee roadblocks in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R–AL) is preventing quick military promotions on the Senate floor; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–VT) has stalled health–related nominees in an effort to address prescription drug prices; and Sen. Joe Manchin (D–WV) is opposing all Environmental Protection Agency nominees.
Vance, who supports Donald Trump in the 2024 primary, doesn’t serve on the Committee of Judiciary, which is the Senate’s primary confirmation committee. Nonetheless, his policy applies to U.S. attorneys and not to U.S. marshals.
“Confirmations should not be used as a political tool,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) in response. “I am confident we can confirm the President’s nominees and it’s important to do so in a timely fashion.”
Schumer refused to say whether or not the Senate would take up the issue and hold Vance accountable if he continues to block nominees.
At the heart of the matter is Trump’s second impeachment trial. As key figures from the Trump administration become sanctioned and indicted, tensions in the Senate rise. Nominee holds are just one of the tools lawmakers are using to make their voices heard in the Senate chambers.
While it is within Senator Vance’s power to apply holds to current nominees, how much support the Republican will have for this action remains to be seen. Whether the hold strategy will work, only time will tell.
Until Merrick Garland stops using his agency to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents, I will hold all DoJ nominees. pic.twitter.com/UVRwi6Ue01
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) June 13, 2023