GOP Denied Plenty of Nominees Up-or-Down Votes

Oh, the hypocisy of Republicans. Now they want an up-or-down vote on all nominees. That wasn't the case in the 90's when Clinton did the nominating. In fact, it's never been the case. Tremendous deference always has gone to the Senators from the nominee's home state.

  • Denver lawyer Jim Lyons was nominated for the 10th Circuit in 1999. Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard blocked a vote on his nomination. The reason: Allard thought he was too partisan, because he had represented the Clintons and wrote a report on Whitewater. Lyons, a well-respected lawyer, had the support of Colorado's other republican Senator, Ben Nighthorse-Campbell, as well as that of Republican senators from other states. But Allard refused a vote and Lyons eventually withdrew his nomination.

  • Allard also refused a vote to federal district court nominee Patricia Coan, who later became a federal magistrate in Colorado, a position in which she remains (and at which she does quite well.) (See, Denver Post, September 22, 2002; Rocky Mountain News, August 26, 2000, available on lexis.com) Allard's claims that she was not competent for a federal judgeship were totally unfounded.
  • Allard later blocked a third Clinton nominee, Christine Arguello, even though he had listed her as one of five acceptable nominees. His official excuse: he thought it was too late in the session. [Associated Press, July 28, 2000.)

"Allard said he supports Arguello's nomination but warned she might not be confirmed so late in the congressional session. "I'm happy for Christine," Allard said. "But they waited toward the end of the session, and it's going to be very difficult to get someone through Congress. Things get to be more political." [TalkLeft's Translation: Allard wanted to make sure if Bush won in 2000, the judgeship would go to a Republican. Now Allard is siding with Frist, demanding up or down votes for all Bush's nominees.]

As a result of Allards' blocking of nominees, our seven Colorado federal judges were severely overworked. Allard waited until Bush was elected in 2000 to confirm any additional judges. Then he took the first two Bush nominated, arguing for speedy confirmation.

  • Idaho lawyer John Tait: Via Crooks and Liars (with a little confirmation help from me and Lexis and an original hat tip to David NYC of Daily Kos) we learn that Idaho Republican Senators U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne successfully got Orrin Hatch to block lawyer John Tait's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Source: Lewiston Morning Tribune (Idaho) December 14, 1994, available on lexis.com.

"President Clinton nominated Tait to one of Idaho's federal district judge posts in August, 18 months after LaRocco made his original recommendation. Two months ago, U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne successfully blocked Tait's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. LaRocco said partisan politics were to blame before he lost to Boise natural resources consultant Helen Chenoweth in the Nov. 8 election. Idaho's two Republican senators said Tait lacked the necessary qualifications."

Raw Story has more examples.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Re: GOP Denied Plenty of Nominees Up-or-Down Votes (none / 0) (#1)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:15 PM EST
    Hatch is not the white hat he would perch under as he constantly refrains up and down vote. I will be including this in my series at some point but for now here is a bit about blue slips and up and down votes: like other Congressional procedures, the blue slip policy can be-and has been-misused. After he assumed control of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the mid-1990s, Senator Hatch began to rigorously enforce a blue slip policy under which nominations could not move forward without the consent of both home state Senators. In 1998, this policy was made explicit on the blue slips themselves, which stated that “[n]o further proceedings on this nominee will be scheduled until both blue slips have been returned by the nominee’s home state senators.” Suddenly, a policy that had helped to force consultation and consensus was transformed into a vehicle for partisan obstruction. Specific information on whether and when Senators returned blue slips is not made public. Nevertheless, it is clear that the strict blue slip policy effectively stopped any and all action on a number of Clinton nominees. For example, President Clinton nominated Helene White from Michigan for a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 7, 1997. Then-Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan reportedly failed to return his blue slip for more than three years. During that time, the Judiciary Committee took no action whatsoever on the nomination. By the time Abraham was finally pressured to return the blue slip late in 2000, Hatch had indicated that no further action would be taken on appeals court nominees that year. President Clinton renominated White in 2001, but President Bush withdrew the nomination in March without any action by the Senate. As a result, the Hatch-led Judiciary Committee took no action on the White nomination, not even scheduling a hearing, for more than four years. From PFAW

    That was all before 2001 when the "world changed." Seems like the neocons have stopped repeating that drivel. They have mastered the art of a moving target justification for all their dreams of empire. These people who are now arguing for the absolute right to an up or down vote should be getting vilified in the press for their lack of honesty, lack of consistency, opportunism, hypocrisy. The corporate media is busy right now trying to get it's tail between its legs with the attacks on Newsweek. Unbelievable. Speak truth to power.

    Re: GOP Denied Plenty of Nominees Up-or-Down Votes (none / 0) (#3)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:15 PM EST
    We might also note that the blue slip was used by both sides, so I guess hypocrite is as hypocrite does. The simple fact is that the Repubs have the Demos by the nose on this issue, and irrespective of how often both sides have sinned in the past, what the Constitution says is advise and consent. So I say again. Let's have a debate and vote. If the nominees are as bad as the Left claims, surely six Repubs will vote no.

    what the Constitution says is advise and consent. Could it be that refusal to bring appointments up for a vote constitutes advice? I can't find the line in the Constitution that says bring them for an up or down vote. Anybody got a copy of the old document and time to give it a good reading? So, Jim, you suddenly get constitutional zeal for the judge votes when Bush is nominating, but it was missing when Clinton's nominations were not getting a vote. What does that say about you? Explain to me how your position is not simple hypocrisy or political hackery if you can. You are in the values crowd, where does integrity, consistency fit into with the values?

    I guess another compromise suggestion - up and down votes, ok, but we start with up or down votes on the Clinton nominees who never got an up or down vote. Everybody on board for that?

    Re: GOP Denied Plenty of Nominees Up-or-Down Votes (none / 0) (#6)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    The hypocracy runs both ways. Odds are that none of the 9 dems serving in the Senate that voted for the nuclear option when Clinton was in offie will vote for the nuclear option now. If they do, I'll be the first to come here and say I was wrong, and commend them for their intellectual consistancy. No one is pure as driven snow in this one, but everyone deserves an up or down vote, as Poker has said, if they are so awful, the moderate repubs will keep them from being confirmed.

    Hey Big Tex, I think you are spinning here. When do you think that 9 dems voted for the nuclear option when Clinton was in office? Is this the day's talking point from some right wing site? I don't think the facts will bear you out on this statement.