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Senate confirms 15 judges, recesses until after Election Day

Last Updated Oct 12, 2018 2:33 AM EDT

The Senate confirmed 15 more judges late Thursday before going on recess until after the midterm elections on Nov. 6. That allowed vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election to campaign in their home states, while Republicans were able to get several nominees to circuit and district courts confirmed.

House members had already left town. That chamber canceled all votes for October at the end of September to enable representatives to go home and campaign for re-election.

Three nominees to circuit courts and 12 to district courts were confirmed by roll call votes. President Trump has previously criticized Democrats for attempting to block his judicial nominees from being confirmed.

Mr. Trump and the Republican-led Senate have now put 84 judges on the federal bench since he took office.

Democrats up for re-election in states Mr. Trump won in 2016 face considerable challenges this year. Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, in particular, are facing uphill re-election battles. Mr. Trump has recently rallied in Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia for the Republican Senate candidates in those states.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada is considered the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election this year. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is also facing a what may be a tight race, with Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke showing some momentum. A recent CBS News Battleground Tracker poll showed O'Rourke trailing Cruz by six points. Mr. Trump is visiting Texas later this month to rally for Cruz, his erstwhile enemy in the 2016 presidential primary.

  • Grace Segers

    Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.