Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | May 09, 2003

Hatch's hypocrisy knows no bounds

Once upon a time, when Democrats controlled the Senate, if both senators from a state submitted "blue slips" they could block a judicial nomination from their state.

Then the GOP took over, and Hatch snagged the helm of the Senate Judicial Committee. Given President Clinton was in the White House, Hatch changed the rules so that a single blue slip could block a nominee. Jesse Helms used the rule to block every single Clinton nominee from North Carolina.

But then Bush was selected to office, and Democrats could suddenly block Bush's nominees. So Hatch, in a spectacular show of hypocrisy, changed the rule so that two senators had to submit blue slips to block a nominee.

But for Hatch, that wasn't hypocritical enough.

On Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) indicated that the Michigan senators' opposition to the four conservative judicial hopefuls from their state is likely prevent Michigan from additional representation on the court.

"There's not much I can do," Hatch said Monday after Levin and Stabenow filed so-called "blue slips" to prevent President Bush’s picks for the Sixth Circuit Court from being considered. "They probably deserve one or two judges, but I suspect they're going to have to go other states to fill those seats."

But on Tuesday, Hatch said he was undecided on how to respond to Levin and Stabenow's attempt to block all the president's nominees from Michigan by taking advantage of a procedure that allows senators to hold up consideration of any judicial nominee from their state. [...]

Hatch said it’s harder to overcome blue slips for district court nominees," adding, "There's a real question of whether blue slips should be honored, and I haven't resolved that question in my mind yet."

"Hasn't been resolved"?? This is the difference between Democrats and Republicans -- the GOP has no qualms about changing the rules of the game when it suits their needs, damn the response. Republicans have no sense of shame, no sense of playing "fair".
Stabenow’s GOP predecessor, Secretary of Commerce Spencer Abraham, opposed President Clinton’s nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Helene White to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court. She waited four years and did not receive a hearing.

Another Clinton nominee, Kathleen McCree Lewis, from Michigan, met a similar fate.

I have said this before -- I think the blue slip rule is asinine. Kill it. But it must be done in a way that is fair -- that is, the new rule shouldn't take effect until after Bush's presidency. What was good enough for Clinton is good enough for Bush, but wipe the slate clean for our next president, whether a Republican or Democrat.

But the GOP isn't interested in playing by rules. If a Democrat wins in 2004, who wants to bet that Hatch won't try to go back to Clinton-era rules?

Posted May 09, 2003 07:09 AM | Comments (62)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)