SESSIONS THINKS GOP HAS BEEN ‘TOO GENEROUS’ ON JUDICIAL NOMINEES…. The Senate Judiciary Committee once again approved a batch of stalled judicial nominations yesterday, but not before Republicans vowed to take their unprecedented obstructionist tactics up a notch.
Senate Judiciary Republicans threatened Thursday to block President Barack Obama’s nominees for lower courts from clearing the full chamber, and panel Democrats accused them of making unwarranted objections.
“Republicans will not stand quietly by and allow the rule of law in America to be historically altered by a federal judiciary that is agenda-oriented,” Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said during a committee markup. “If anything, we have been far too generous with our consent.”
Oh really. Republican senators, according to the right-wing, borderline-racist ranking member, have been “far too generous” with nominees thus far. We’re looking at a governmental landscape in which the judicial nominating process has been brought to a generational standstill, but Sessions would like to see it get much worse.
Keep in mind, GOP senators are now throwing a fit over district court nominees — would-be judges who have, even during previous eras of Republican hysterics, been approved with relative ease. (Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told his GOP colleagues yesterday, “Erecting a blockade for a district court nominee is a new threshold we will cross. Once that tiger is let out of a cage, it will never get back in.”)
Also note, Republicans are making no effort to hide the ideological warfare. Session conceded that he wants to block judges, not because of qualifications or temperament, because he disagrees with their philosophy. When Democrats considered a similar approach, Republicans were absolutely apoplectic, and screamed that Dems were tearing at the very fabric of our democracy.
During the Bush era, Sessions, in particular, decried Democrats’ “unprecedented, obstructive tactics,” and demanded that every Bush nominee receive “an up-and-down vote,” whether Democrats agreed with them ideologically or not.
Look, I know this isn’t the sexiest issue, but there’s a crisis on the courts, and it’s the direct result of Senate Republicans engaging in tactics that no one has ever seen before. It is no exaggeration to say the status quo is the worst it’s ever been — the Alliance For Justice recently reported that President Obama “has seen a smaller percentage of his nominees confirmed at this point in his presidency than any president in American history.”
Dahlia Lithwick said the ongoing fiasco may need to be renamed “a national judicial disaster or the global war on the judiciary.”
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy recently noted the broken process, and argued, “It’s important for the public to understand that the excellence of the federal judiciary is at risk.”
But there’s a Democratic president, which means Republicans don’t care. Indeed, as far as they’re concerned, they’ve already been “far too generous” with their consent.