The vote on Hamilton

THE VOTE ON HAMILTON…. The schedule may change, but it seems likely that Judge David Hamilton, President Obama’s nominee to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, will come up for a vote this week. It’s even more likely that Hamilton will have more than 60 votes for confirmation.

The question is whether far-right Republicans filibuster anyway. A group of 24 conservative leaders, led in part by former Reagan-era Attorney General Edwin Meese, have demanded GOP senators try to block a vote. Even if it fails, they argue, the obstructionist tactics will “send a signal.” (What that “signal” represents remains unclear.)

The conservative activists have proven to be so far gone they’ve positioned Manuel Miranda to act as the voice of reason.

Manuel Miranda, a former Senate GOP leadership aide and chairman of Third Branch Conference, a coalition of conservative leaders that has taken an active role in several high-profile debates of judicial nominees, has questioned the push to block Hamilton.

“Respectfully, I disagree with this rally to ‘vote no on the cloture’ for this or any nominee that one would expect a Democratic president to nominate, if the sole purpose is to block or ‘stop,’ and not merely and genuinely to prolong a debate,” Miranda wrote in an e-mail to fellow conservatives.

Miranda’s group was formerly known as the National Committee to End the Judicial Filibuster. He was one of scores of conservative leaders who sent a letter in 2005 to Senate GOP leaders demanding they abolish the filibuster of judicial nominees.

Miranda is, of course, best known for stealing over 4,000 memos and documents related to judicial nominees from Democratic computer servers in 2004. Asked to explain his actions, Miranda once famously said, “You have no ethical duty to your opposition.”

And now, even he thinks Obama’s judicial nominees deserve a debate and a vote.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.