Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Promise Breaking

Can anyone sincerely believe that Collins' bizarre interest in pruning the judiciary meets the "extraordinary circumstances" threshold that she committed to back in 2005?

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine joined all but one other Republican today in blocking the nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


Collins told reporters on Capitol Hill that she voted against the former New York state solicitor general because the seat has been vacant for six years and is no longer needed because the D.C. Circuit’s case load is on the wane.


Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was among those pointing out that there are three vacancies currently on the D.C. Circuit, so two seats would remain vacant if Halligan is confirmed.


Snowe and Collins are part of a group of senators who have promised not to use the filibuster to block judicial nominees from receiving final Senate votes except under extraordinary circumstances.
As with Collins' decision to block the nomination of Goodwin Liu and her vote against the confirmation of trailblazer Alison Nathan, what's involved here--other than hypocrisy--is naked partisan politics.


Anonymous said...

Sigh ... if only you would actually check facts before you post.

First, instead of relying on press reports, you might actually check the Congressional Record to read Sen. Collins' statement on the vote. You can find it on page S-8358.

Second, the commitment she made "back in 2005" -- if you're referring to what's called the "Gang of 14 Agreement" -- was only good for the 109th Congress, which ended in 2006. Wikipedia the agreement for the text, which provides in pertinent part: "This memorandum confirms an understanding among the signatories . . . related to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th Congress.

Third, I don't suppose you objected when a Democrat from the Gang of 14 broke the agreement during the 109th Congress by voting to filibuster a Bush nominee in 2006.

Fourth, in 2006 when the nominee for this same seat was a Republican, Democrats said there was no need to fill the slot because the court's caseload was declining. Since then, it has declined further by 12%. Funny how now that the nominee is a Democrat, the Democrats don't seem to think the decreased caseload is a problem. THAT'S hypocrisy.

Contrapositive said...

Notable that a senator who professes to rise above partisanship attracts ardent supporters whose first instinct is to defend Collins by arguing that the Democrats are worse.

I guess Collins' promise to serve two terms and come back home to Maine is moot because some Democrats did equally egregious things.

Beyond that, let's look at what Collins said about the "Gang of 14" agreement when it was put into effect:

"This agreement is based on trust. And most important, it helps preserve the unique culture of this institution. It is a culture that is built upon a foundation of collegiality and cooperation that transcends partisanship. It is a culture in which legislative goals are reached with patience and perseverance, and through the art of negotiation and compromise. This agreement preserves that Senate culture and shows a respect for the important principles that make the Senate such a great institution."

Interesting--and telling--that Collins thinks those principles had a shelf life of less than two years.