At long last, we now know the official conservative litmus test for responding to nominations and other official proposals submitted to congress: “if the President is for something, we’re against it.”
It’s really as simple as that. And heaven help any nominees who happen to be women and/or people of color.
If the true nature of the test wasn’t already long-apparent in the right’s transparently hypocritical opposition to the federal version of Romney/Heritage Care (i.e. the Affordable Care Act), the final, once-and-for-all confirmation came yesterday when Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the nomination of Congressman Mel Watt to serve as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and then followed it up moments later with an equally absurd filibuster of the President’s nomination of a moderate, corporate lawyer named Patricia Millett to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
There was literally no good reason to oppose these nominations (except, maybe, that both nominees are too friendly to big business). Watt is a veteran attorney and respected and moderate voice with years of experience in the area in which he was to supervise. What’s more, he has frequently worked closely with the banking industry — which plays such an important role in his hometown. According to one report, the successful filibuster marks the first time in 170 years that a sitting member of Congress has been denied such an appointment! He was even supported by Richard Burr.
Millett is an experienced corporate lawyer and the spouse of a military hero who has argued dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She’s even a John Roberts fan! The only thing opponents could cook up was the ridiculous contention that — now, all of a sudden — that there are “too many judges on the D.C. Circuit.” The absurdity of this downright laughable argument probably explains why the GOP selected the grim-faced Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa (a man who has never been known to laugh in his life) to present it.
Word in D.C. is that talk of blowing up the filibuster is now gathering momentum once again. Let’s hope so. Such an action is long overdue.