This week, I failed to write a Thanksgiving Day post. Consider this my belated Thanksgiving Day post. Mostly, I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful for politicians, too, partially because they do some of the dumbest things imaginable. Thanks to this article, I’ve gained a new appreciation for a pair of U.S. senators. Specifically, I appreciate Sen. Grassley, (R-IA), and Sen. Reid, (D-NV).

Before he retired, Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster. President Trump is thanking him all the way to the Supreme Court to the appeals courts. Sen. Grassley took away the Democrats’ hidden filibuster ‘tool’, aka “the blue slip courtesy.”

The article states the “growing rift between [President Trump] and Republican Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker alone has made headlines for months.” Those stories have buried something much more important. According to the article, “that story ignores a bigger and longer-lasting development in the federal judiciary. That brings us first to naming the Republican gift giver: Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa. The longtime member of Congress has big time clout as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And Grassley has just used that clout to eliminate one of the final hurdles in the already furious pace of Trump administration judicial appointments to the federal bench.”

The article continues:

Late last week, Grassley decided not to honor a Senate tradition of holding up hearings for judicial nominees who aren’t cleared by their own home state senators. That tradition is known as the “blue slip courtesy” born out of time before nationwide communication technology when a given state’s senators had access to much more information about nominees than their colleagues from the rest of the country. Grassley correctly noted that Democrats were now trying to use the blue slips tradition to replace the filibuster, and he’s having none of that. As recently as last month, the Democrats and much of the news media’s punditry were expecting Grassley, who is no fan of the president, to keep the blue slip tradition in place. But Grassley gave Trump this very special gift instead.

And that brings us to the Democrat who provided the initial generous source of President Trump’s solid triumph: Former Senate Majority Leader, and Democrat, Harry Reid. Reid is a major reason this good fortune has befallen President Trump because Reid was the one who killed the filibuster rule for judicial nominees in 2013. And when he killed it, it was gone for good.

This is why all this matters:

Consider that as of November 3rd, 13 Trump nominees to the courts have been confirmed this year. The big name is Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, but we also have eight new federal appeals court judges, and four new U.S. district court judges. President Trump has now already surpassed the last four presidents’ records for first-year judicial confirmations. And he’s even tied President Ronald Reagan number of appeals court confirmations in year one.

But this isn’t just about sheer numbers, it’s about ideology too. While President Trump and conservatives have diverged in matters of policy several times over the past year, the judicial nomination process is decidedly not one of them. The nominees sent to the Senate from the White House are more conservative and even younger than what we saw during President George W. Bush’s two terms in office.

This wouldn’t be possible if not for Harry Reid’s short-sighted decision to eliminate the filibuster. Thanks Harry. I finally found something that he’s responsible for that I’m thankful for.

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