The Senate passed legislation Monday to cut off Trump’s power to nominate federal judges and other federal officials.
The Senate voted 46-45 in favor of the measure.
It would block Trump from naming nominees to the Supreme Court and other high court vacancies for three years.
The measure also would prevent Trump from taking executive action to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.
Trump had proposed that judges be nominated by a commission.
The Trump administration has called the idea an unconstitutional “power grab.”
Democrats have threatened to oppose the bill if it is passed, though they are also likely to oppose Trump’s nominees.
“I hope this legislation doesn’t get passed,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“It will put the Trump administration in a position where the Supreme Courts will be stacked with the very judges they purport to be regulating.”
The bill was backed by some Republicans, including Sens.
Lindsey Graham Lindsey Olin GrahamHow Flake came to secure Kavanaugh delay Graham: If Kavanaugh goes down, ‘this will be the end of the Trump era’ Grassley: Trump’s tweet that ‘was not a threat’ could derail Kavanaugh MORE (S.C.) and Mike Lee Michael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Kavanaugh nomination looms as Dems weigh in on FBI probe MORE (Utah), who led the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.
The GOP bill would also make it a felony to vote to confirm a Trump nominee to the federal bench, or to block a nominee from receiving a vote.
The bill also would make it illegal for the Trump Justice Department to fire or reprimand an agency lawyer who “violates the constitutional prohibition against an unlawful interference with the conduct of the court or the executive branch.”
In addition, it would prevent the president from using executive orders to change federal law.
The White House has said the bill is meant to stop Trump from appointing judges and that Democrats are trying to use it to delay its passage.
“This is an opportunity to stop this president from abusing his power,” Graham said.
“The Judiciary Committee will do everything we can to ensure this does not happen.”
The legislation also would block the president and other members of the Cabinet from using the executive authority to appoint federal judges.
Democrats have also threatened to object to any confirmation that would come from a Trump-nominated nominee.
Sen. Chris Murphy Christopher (Chris) Scott MurphyGOP senator accuses Obama of using executive powers to obstruct Trump’s judicial appointments: report The Hill’s Morning Report – Dems hold edge in Virginia Senate racePoll: GOP’s Murphy up by 6 points in Virginia, GOP on edge in Georgia Senate race MORE (D-Conn.) said in his statement Monday that the bill would prevent judges from taking on cases involving gun violence, sexual assault and drug addiction.
“Congress has already passed laws to curb judicial activism, and this legislation is designed to protect the president’s power by limiting his ability to use executive power to undermine judicial integrity,” Murphy said.
The Judiciary Committee’s bill was first introduced in December.
In a separate move Monday, Trump threatened to pull the plug on the U.S. government if Democrats do not agree to block his nominees to replace retiring Justice Antonin Scalia.
“If I get impeached, I am going to fire the lawyers that did that to the president,” Trump said on Fox News.
“They should be ashamed of themselves.”
The president did not rule out the possibility of a judicial ethics investigation into his handling of the Russia probe.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told Fox News on Monday.
“That will be up to Congress.
They’ll do what they have to do.”