Signs of life are being spotted in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and one circuit court nominee will get a floor vote today –Michael Chagares.
There is even some reporting that sees Brett Kavanaugh and Terrance Boyle getting their votes before long. Majority Leader Frist and the rest of the GOP leadership must realize that crucial momentum heading into the 2006 elections depends upon a demonstration of the ability to get judges confirmed when a 55 seat majority is in place.
But there is one very troubling report: From Powerline comes word that Senator John McCain has got the long knives out for the nomination of DoD General Counsel William (“Jim”) Haynes.
I don’t believe that even Senator McCain’s legendary indifference to the political consequences of his acts among the GOP base will allow him to compound the Gang of 14 fiasco with the blockade in committee –through Senator Graham– of a Bush judiical nominee.
Voting against a nominee on the floor is Senator McCain’s unquestioned right.
Orchestrating the sequestration of a nominee so as to deny a vote he might win is the same tactic that the Leahy-led Judiciary Committee perfected, and would telegraph a deep contempt for the Constitutional design.
If Senators McCain/Graham obstruct the judicial nomination process, they have no right to complain of others doing so, or any business asking for Republican primary votes. The campaigns of 2002 and 2004 have been waged in part on this central issue of up-or-down votes on the floor for a president’s nominees to the bench.
If Senator McCain wants to defeat a nominee, let him do so in the open and on the floor. He’ll have the Democrats with him, and the MSM.
But if he arranges for this nominee to disappear, expect to hear the name William Hanyes broadcast throughout Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as the short course in why Senator McCain shouldn’t get a GOP vote in those primaries.
Defending the Gang of 14 is hard enough. Defending the suffocation of a nominee in committee is impossible.