December 19, 2006

Senator Brownback blocked the confirmation of Janet Neff because she attended a commitment ceremony for her neighbors' daughter.

Upholding morality is such sleazy work. Now, he's decided to allow a vote. What a prince! And he's not even demanding anymore that she agree to recuse herself in cases about same-sex marriage. Someone clued him in that it would be completely improper for a judge to make a commitment like that in exchange for a vote. On his own, he thought he was standing up for what was right and good.

Let's see if I've ever written about Senator Brownback before. There's this, from the confirmation hearings of John Roberts:
Brownback moves to the topic of abortion, which he focused on in his opening statement: "Could you state your view as to whether the unborn child is a person or is a piece of property?" Roberts gives another short, noncommittal answer about abortion rights. Brownback then consumes a huge chunk of his time giving an anti-abortion speech, at the end of which Roberts can only say, "Well, Senator, I appreciate your thoughts on the subject very much."
Well, Senator, I appreciate your thoughts on the subject very much. I love that.

35 comments:

Simon said...

I think that's the perfect capstone to the abysmal performance of the 109th Congress in the arena of judicial confirmations, isn't it? After all the rhetoric about the nuclear option and Democrats blocking judges, a Republican Senator shows himself to be perfectly willing to use the same procedural tools as the Democrats when it suits his goals.

Brownback is apparently considering a run for the Presidency - and one can only hope that his motivation is to make the eventual nominee look relatively sane. As Kucinich is to House Democrats, so is Brownback to Senate Republicans.

Tim said...

Senators block confirmation of judges for all kinds of stupid, self-serving reasons - that Brownback did so too only confirms he's a Senator, and that he doesn't care for gay relationships, but given who the guy is, that's not surprising. Senate holds on confirmations should be disallowed. They've proven themselves incapable of wielding that power responsibly.

Anonymous said...

I'd expect nothing less from someone of Brownback's stature. Nothing more, either.

MadisonMan said...

Says the Senator: “I’d like to know more factually about what took place,”

Well, given that they were neighbors, I'd say that Ms. Neff talked with the parents for some time about how beautiful the daughter looked. Ms. Neff probably talked to other neighbors about how scruptious those little stuffed mushrooms were and do you know who catered? And how much is old Lady Harrigan going to be asking for her house when it goes on the market next year? And do they know when the city is going to trim that tree that's blocking the Stop sign at 5th and Main?

I'd be so proud if I were a Kansan to call this man my Senator. I say it's 100-1 that someone would have called him Senator Brownshirt in this comment thread if I hadn't put down the odds :)

The Drill SGT said...

Beyond stupid!

Here we have a GOP Senator, who held up the appointment of more than 12 judges nominated by a GOP President over this crap? Now those 12+ nominees will have pulled out or face a Dem committee in the Spring instead?

Clearly Brownback is from the shallow end of the Gene Pool.

I loved this section:

Judge Neff’s nomination was included in a package of more than a dozen nominees whose confirmation had been agreed upon by both Democrats and Republicans. Mr. Brownback’s objections held up the whole roster of nominees.

Mr. Brownback said that when Judge Neff was renominated in January, he would insist only that the nomination not be approved in a voice vote, but one in which each senator is obliged to record a personal vote.


They may not get a vote again.

Zeb Quinn said...

Remembering the sorts of things that Roberts advocated when in the Reagan White House, he probably isn't all that different from Brownback. Smarter. Far more measured and circumspect when expressing himself. But probably not much else. He probably did appreciate hearing Brownback.

Dave said...

Can someone explain to me where the appellation "brownshirt" came from?

Presumably not UPS drivers...

paul a'barge said...

Geez.

Try making it hard for me to put "Republican" next to my name.

Now what am I going to replace it with? "Left out"?

Bissage said...

For those trying to fathom a motive (Simon presented his customary first-rate insight), it might be worse than imaginable. According to the article, Brownback’s motive was to preclude Neff’s potential for bias. That's bad enough.

But consider the Senator’s own words: "I make this request based on my longstanding belief that this issue should be dealt with by the people and their legislative representatives, not the courts."

So, it’s not that Neff might make a biased decision, it’s that she might make a decision, at all.

This guy's on the Senate Judiciary Committee?!

MadisonMan said...

dave: Try these two links.

Short answer: Nazi stormtroopers wore brown shirts.

Anonymous said...

Both his orginal stance and the ridiculous "compromise" are disgraceful. Anyone who opposed the snooping into what movies Clarence Thomas rented, whether nominees belong to the Federalist Society or Samuel Alito's participation in a campus newspaper at Princeton ought to be disgusted at this type of inquiry.

Among other things, obviously a sitting federal judge who chooses which cases to hear based upon a prior committment to someone controlling the appointment of such judge would be acting unethically. I can't believe one of Sen. Brownback's staffers couldn't have figured this out.

If the Republicans want to re-establish some dignity and fairness to the process, this behavior should be grounds for removal from the Judiciary Committee.

Anonymous said...

Dave: MadisonMan beat me to it, but since I already copied the Wikipedia link, I will go ahead and post it.

Anonymous said...

Geez. What a jerk. What would he say if a Democrat blocked a judge who had attended, say, a military graduation for a sniper? Saying "I'll lift the hold if she/he/it promises not to rule on military justice cases?" or something?

Anonymous said...

Dang it. Now I see that MadisonMan actually posted the wikipedia link too and my post was completely worthless. Well then, off for more caffein before I make a bigger ass of myself.

Dear Prof. Althouse: I apologize for gunking up the comments on this thread.

Simon said...

Bissage said...
"For those trying to fathom a motive (Simon presented his customary first-rate insight)"

Thanks, Bissage! :p


"But consider the Senator’s own words: 'I make this request based on my longstanding belief that this issue should be dealt with by the people and their legislative representatives, not the courts.'"

Brownback is full of it. What is the evidence that just because a judge personally approves of same-sex unions that they will impose that policy preference from the bench? By Brownback's theory, the Judiciary Committee should have demanded that Scalia recuse himself from every case involving abortion and deregulation, given his views on abortion and his time as editor of Regulation. Being a judge doesn't mean abjuring political and moral views, it means subordinating them to a commitment to set them aside and rule on what the law says.


"This guy's on the Senate Judiciary Committee?!"

Sadly, he isn't the worst, by a long shot. Tom Coburn, Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin left me slack-jawed after the Roberts and Alito hearings (my enduring memory of the Roberts hearings will be CSPAN's shot of Durbin's face contorted into a rictus of disgust as Roberts explained that he wouldn't commit to ruling for the little guy in every case, because if the law says the little guy loses, that means the little guy is going to lose; that exchange spoke volumes). But the worst of all was Grassley. Charles Grassley is a good and gentlemanly Senator, who has handled Finance Committee with dignity and aplomb in the last two years, but as a member of the Judiciary Committee, to borrow from Tori Amos, he's the sweetest cherry in an apple pie.

reader_iam said...

Oh yeah, this guy's thinking skills make him perfect as a presidential candidate.

I can't get over his thinking that more of an investigation needs to place so he can know "factually" what happened. That's the part that stands out for me. Let's subpoena the wedding photos and videos! Did Neff sneak in an extra sip of champagne, so enthusiastically happy was she for her long-time neighbor?

Sam Brownback doesn't pass the laugh test.

Dave said...

Madison/Triangle Men: Thanks for the links.

knoxgirl said...

Mr. Brownback, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008

Great. Another douchebag in the running! I repeat my mantra: NO SENATORS FOR PRESIDENT

Anonymous said...

A dollar says the backlash will redefine his last name to some awesomely raunchy gay sex term and googlebomb it a la Santorum. And with a name like Brownback the options are endless!

The Jerk said...

Given that he's apparently obsessed with gay marriage, I'm surprised nobody has yet suggested Senator Brokeback.

Anonymous said...

I think the scenario of a Republican schism in 2008 just got a lot more plausible.

I wonder what Hugh "Confirm the Judges" Hewitt has to say about this. Brownback is probably going to cost Bush a passel of judges over this inane objection.

I personally think the liberal concerns about the right wanting to establish a "theocracy" are grossly overblown. But Brownback's little heterosexual loyalty test certainly would put us on this path.

Mortimer Brezny said...

But Brownback's little heterosexual loyalty test certainly would put us on this path.

Must it be little?

Anonymous said...

"Little" in the sense of "small-minded." But also "little" in the sense of, I don't think it has any legs. Exposing it to the light of day renders it too absurd to continue.

The partisan moderate said...

However a more interesting point was made in response (in November) by the uber partisan Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061126/ap_on_go_co/judge_gay_marriage

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., urged taking a step back, away from "the political agenda," in considering judicial appointees.

"You know, these are important lifetime appointments. These men and women who serve on the bench, we really trust their judgment and their wisdom and giving these political litmus tests I don't think is in the best interest of justice in America," said Durbin, who will be the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate."

Hopefully he will remember these words when he deals with President Bush's nominees in the future. If not, perhaps Republicans can remind him.

Simon said...

Re Durbin's comments on confirmations, he is about as sanctimonious a piece of work as can be imagined. For a member of a party which has, for thirty years, made Roe the litmus test for Supreme Court nominees to say that "these political litmus tests I don't think is in the best interest of justice in America" is absolutely absurd.

proudtobealiberal said...

This matter was brought to press attention earlier. My thought is that this issue may have been affected by the recent announcement that Mary Cheney is having a baby with her partner. Does the fact that our VP will be spendng time the baby,his daughter & her partner make him persona non grata in the right wing?

Perhaps Brownback needs to be invited to a few gay weddings/commitment ceremonies, etc.

It is easy to oppose gay marriage/civil unions in principal. It is much harder when it is your own daughter/friend/college roommate/next door neighbor, etc.

Anonymous said...

Does the fact that our VP will be spendng time the baby,his daughter & her partner make him persona non grata in the right wing?

Obviously not. And watching that fact mystify lefties has been very amusing; they can't reconcile their caricature of righties with their actions. Rather than abandon their caricature, lefties yell "hypocrite" because that's more fun and takes a lot less effort.

Eli Blake said...

knoxgirl:

NO SENATORS FOR PRESIDENT!

Probably for the one and only time ever, I agree with you about something.

Q: What do you call a Presidential debate?

A: A Senate committee hearing.

jaed said...

A simple Constitutional amendment:

No person who has held the office of United States Senator shall be eligible to serve as President of the United States.

would do so much to improve presidental elections (not to mention the ability of Senators to focus).

Any objections?

The partisan moderate said...

Yes, I object. LBJ, was the most effective President at getting legislation in large part due to his time as Senate Majority Leader. While, we can debate the efficacy of some of the legislation he got passed, no one can doubt his effectiveness.

Senators, additionally have greater foreign policy knowledge than gubernatorial counterparts.

While the ideal is someone who has both experience as an executive (i.e. Governor) and as a legislator (i.e. Senator or Congressman), there is nothing wrong with just being a Senator.

Providing it was a Senator I liked, I would have no problem with a Senator being elected President.

downtownlad said...

Don't be surprised to see 20 Senators siding with Senator Brownback when this nominee comes up for a vote.

me said...

"Does the fact that our VP will be spendng time the baby,his daughter & her partner make him persona non grata in the right wing?"

"Obviously not. And watching that fact mystify lefties has been very amusing; they can't reconcile their caricature of righties with their actions. Rather than abandon their caricature, lefties yell "hypocrite" because that's more fun and takes a lot less effort."

What cariacature does the left have to abandon? See the Concerned Women for America and various Christian(ist?) (mischievous look towards Ann) commentators. Of course, Cheney isn't a pariah, but his daughter is. And Cheney will probably have a happy, normal, relationship with the baby and Mary's partner, Heather. I think that's wonderful. However, for people who think gays shouldn't be able to have children, and that homosexual sex should be illegal (i.e., Mary and Heather shouldn't be able to live together in a sexual relationship), supporting Cheney has to provoke some cognitive dissonace. The VP I voted for b/c I believe being gay is wrong has a gay daughter who is having a baby with her partner who the VP fully supports???? How CAN you reconcile it?

hdhouse said...

Dave said...
Can someone explain to me where the appellation "brownshirt" came from?

Presumably not UPS drivers...
and madison man opinion it was what Nazi storm troopers wore.

we think of storm troopers as military but they were not. they were, to put it in current terms, something like Bush advance men. They put laws into effect (the Germans) that mirror some of our current presidentially contrived findings. Arresting non-members at national political gatherings is a case in point. Hitler wanted only gatherings where the support was 100%. No pickets. No desent. Just loyalists. It was his hope that it would create two classes - one within the good graces and one clearly outside the realm. It is much like Bush has operated sans the brown shirts. He replaced them with a GOP pin.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Cheney isn't a pariah, but his daughter is.

Except that she worked on his campaigns. Sound like a "pariah"? Again, doesn't fit with your theory.

The VP I voted for b/c I believe being gay is wrong has a gay daughter who is having a baby with her partner who the VP fully supports????

See, that's exactly your caricature. That's not what the vast majority of people who voted for the R ticket think. However, you like to think of them as bigots so that you don't have to consider their opinions. Not wanting to suddenly redefine marriage after thousands of years does NOT equate with "I believe being gay is wrong," just as not believing that racial preferences are a good idea doesn't equate with being racist. But liberals, in their wisdom, simply ignore the disagreement on issues and label the disagreers as bigots.

Patrick J. Shea said...

Aren't we and Brownback jumping to conclusions that Neff approves of legal status for same-sex unions just by her attendance at a ceremony? I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I've certainly attended weddings, baptisms, and various other ceremonies of which I didn't "approve" personally, in the sense that I wouldn't really endorse them as being sound judgment calls or in accordance with my belief system (much less public policy). There are things such as civility and friendship that might induce one to attend a neighbor's family wedding regardless of your opinion of the match or its circumstances, no?

Honestly, the whole thing smacks of a publicity stunt on Browback's part -- he's just establishing his credentials for the '08 primary. If he's sincere, well then, he must not think very hard about things.