Arizona’s Jon Kyl joined me today, and one of the subjects we touched on was judges:
HH: But I want to get to judges. Is there going to be a vote on Boyle and Haynes, Senator Kyl?
JK: Not soon. And they are two separate cases. In one case, we’ve got just a couple of Republican Senators who are holding the nomination up, and I don’t know…and this is in the case of Haynes, whether or not they’re going to relent. If they do…
HH: That’s Graham and McCain, right?
JK: There may be a couple of others, but those are two who have expressed opposition. And if they decide to let Haynes go, then my guess is Democrats will be very firmly against him, but there might be enough support to let him go. But until they do that, it’s probably not wise to bring him to the floor.
HH: And Boyle?
JK: That is a differerent set of circumstances, and I’m not going to express an opinion here over the air, because I frankly need to go back and check it. I knew when I came on the air with you, Hugh, you would have a question about judges, and I regret that I didn’t go back and bone up on the status of each of these candidates. I apologize, and I’ll do it next time.
HH: Here’s my last one then. Okay. Here’s my last one. Peter Keisler, the tremendous nominee for the D.C. Circuit…
JK: Great, yeah.
HH: Will he get a vote before September’s recess?
JK: Sure hoping so. I’m going to conduct the hearing for him that we will do before the recess going into August, and then we have four weeks after that, in September, to get him through the committee and through the floor, and it’s certainly my hope that we can do that. He’s an outstanding nominee.
HH: Oh, that’s great. You’re going to conduct the hearing?
JK: I will.
HH: Oh, that is super. Jon Kyl, that’s why we like to talk to you. Congratulations. That’s the most important judicial nominee on the floor. I know you and Bill Frist will work hard, as will the chairman.
JK: It is right now, and we’re going to work on it hard.
I very much appreciate the senator’s candor on the Boyle and Haynes nominations.
I suspect Senators Graham and McCain do not fully appreciate the incredible damage they are doing to their standing in the GOP by acting in concert to deny these nominees an up-or-down vote. I wouldn’t object to “no” votes, but the abuse of power by the two to block the 98 from having their say is simply unacceptable to constitutional majoritarians. John McCain’s decision to deny Mr. Haynes a vote on the floor will be raised again and again in the 2008 Campaign.
The good news is that Senator Kyl is pushing Mr. Keisler hard, and the Majority Leader understands the importance to the base of the D.C. Circuit. I simply can’t imagine a September recess happening without a floor vote on the Keisler nomination. The inability to deliver such a vote would be an anchor around the Frist Campaign almost as heavy as the Haynes obstruction will be for Senator McCain’s campaign.