U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is drawing criticism from a Washington, D.C. civil rights organization for threatening to filibuster a judge nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Inhofe’s action contradicts his earlier stance against judicial filibusters, according to a statement released by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. The judge is David Hamilton, who has the support of his home-state U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, the most senior-ranking Republican senator.
According to the statement:
Four years ago, in supporting the so-called Nuclear Option (which would have changed Senate rules to prohibit the use of filibusters against judicial nominees), Senators James Inhofe and Tom Coburn both took the position that it was unconstitutional for Senators to filibuster a President’s judicial nominees. In arguing against judicial filibusters, Inhofe stated that “I don’t think [the filibuster] should be used where it is contrary to the Constitution.” (Tulsa World, May 22, 2005). Senator Coburn said: “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. hat means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee.
Apparently, that was what the Constitution said then, this is now, at least in the mind of Senator Inhofe. According to published reports, Senator Inhofe is planning to lead a filibuster of President Obama’s first judicial nominee, David Hamilton, a highly regarded federal district court judge in Indiana who has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and has been rated unanimously as “Well Qualified” by the Standing Committee of the American Bar Association, the highest possible rating. He was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee more than four months ago.
Inhofe continues to draw attention to himself in a series of political stunts-most revolve around his rejection of climate-change science-that have little meaning to regular Oklahomans. Hamilton is a “well-qualified” judge who has solid support, according to LCCR.
The statement argues:
Geoffrey Slaughter, President of the Indiana Federalist Society, has also endorsed Judge Hamilton’s nomination, stating that “I regard Judge Hamilton as an excellent jurist with a first-rate intellect. He is unfailingly polite to lawyers. He asks tough questions to both sides, and he is very smart. His judicial philosophy is left of center, but well within the mainstream, between the 30-yard lines.”
Inhofe’s move is another partisan gesture that does nothing to help Oklahoma or its national image. Inhofe and Coburn have become caricatures of obstructionism on the national level, and this is not good for the state, although they are celebrated by the corporate media here. As the state suffers through a devastating budget crisis, Inhofe and Coburn play games in Washington. Inhofe should allow the nomination to go through.
(This was initially posted here on Okie Funk.)