The Massachusetts delegation to the United States Senate is less than tickled with President Donald J. Trump's choice to fill a vacant federal appeals court judgeship for a district that includes the Commonwealth.

Trump has nominated Raúl M. Arias-Marxuach to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which oversees Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1967, Arias-Marxuach was nominated to the federal bench in May of 2019 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a 95-3 vote. 

Massachusetts' two Democratic senators were split. Senator Ed Markey voted to confirm, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren opposed confirmation. Rhode Island Democratic Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse also voted to confirm Arias-Marxuach. The two other "nay" votes in the Senate were Vermont's Bernie Sanders and New York's Kirsten Gillibrand.

A check on Wikipedia indicates Arias-Marxuach received his Bachelor of Arts from Boston College, his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and his Master of Laws from Harvard Law School. He appears to be qualified for the position and enjoyed overwhelming support in the Senate just a year ago.

The Boston Herald reported Markey and Warren oppose the timing of the nomination. The paper quotes a joint statement from the pair: "The White House should not be using its final days to try to rush through the nomination of a judge who will have a lifetime appointment to a court with jurisdiction over Massachusetts.” Would Markey and Warren deny this qualified candidate a seat on the appeals court over political pettiness? 

Donald Trump was elected to serve as president until his term expires on January 20, 2021. His responsibilities as president include filling vacant judgeships. He is doing his job. Markey and Warren may not agree with Trump's choices, but as Barack Obama once said, elections have consequences. Indeed they do.

The Senate Judiciary Committee should move expeditiously to confirm Judge Arias-Marxuach.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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