The only issue in November

By Don Surber | Apr 24, 2018

POCA – As West Virginia Republicans grumble over our choices for the Senate this year, we have to look at the big picture.


President Trump has nominated 27 appellate judges. A Republican Senate has confirmed 14 of them.

There are 179 appellate judges on the various U.S, circuit appeals courts. Pending confirmations, Trump will by the end of the year have appointed 15% of the appellate judges.

Think this does not matter? Obama flipped our Fourth Circuit with six appointments.

Circuit courts do 98 percent of the appeals work, as the Supreme Court accepts about 2 percent of its cases.

Oh yes, the Supreme Court. I almost forgot about that.

Trump already appointed one justice, Neil Gorsuch, who succeeded Antonin Scalia, who died in his sleep at 79.

Stephen Breyer is 79. Anthony Kennedy is 81. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85.

Kennedy likely will retire this summer, and Trump will be able to appoint a reliable conservative, say, Thomas Hardiman, who turns 53 in July. Having a Republican Senate should keep the court conservative with another Scalia-level justice.

But who replaces Breyer or Ginsburg next year? Control of the Senate will determine if we get a David Souter or another Gorsuch.

Republican presidents have had to appoint judges in the face of Democratic Senates. Nixon, Ford, and Bush 41 never had a Republican Senate. This led to the appointment of moderates who became liberals as judges.

West Virginia needs to flip red because Nevada likely flips blue. Josh Mandel dropping out of the race in Ohio likely means another term for Charlie Brown's brother. Montana, North Dakota, and even Missouri may not flip.

West Virginians need to step up to the plate, and knock Joe Manchin out of the game.

Manchin voted against the appointment of Steven Grasz to the Eighth Circuit, against the appointment of Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit, and against the appointment of John Kenneth Bush to the Sixth Circuit. These were close confirmation votes for well-qualified candidates. IfDemocrats Arizona and Nevada, we lose the judiciary.

Manchin is not on Trump's Team. Heck, he cannot clap his hands without Chuck Schumer's permission.

Say what you will about Evan Jenkins and Patrick Morrisey, but they are team players. They won't (Jeff) Flake out on us.

And you don't have to be on Trump's Team to appreciate the importance of reining in the judiciary by appointing sane judges who stick to the Constitution. Mitch McConnell made this possible by not allowing votes on Obama's appointees in Obama's final year.

When it comes to replacing Ginsburg, we don't want Harriet Miers. We want someone from the A list that the Heritage Foundation handed Trump. (Trump never hid that he outsourced to Heritage his list of 21 Supreme Court nominees. It's a good list.)

The question isn't who loves Trump most, but rather: who has the best chance to defeat Manchin in November?

By the way, Democrats are running a Booth Goodwin PAC against Jenkins and Morrisey while Republicans run one against Blankenship. That clarifies my choices in May. November matters.

Surber retired after 40 years as a newspaperman, most of that time at the Charleston Daily Mail. He is an Army veteran, a Cleveland State graduate and the author of several books. Read his blog at and follow him at

Want to get notified whenever we write about U.S. Senator Joe Manchin ?

Sign-up Next time we write about U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin

More News

The Record Network