What is interesting about this, aside from the actual topic of the article, is that Kevin isn't a journalist. He's a blogger who built a following from his blog, Cal Pundit (now on hiatus) and was invited to start blogging on Washington Monthly. Regular readers know I'm a big fan of Kevin's writing and I'm very happy for him.
His article is in defense of the filibuster. Although interesting, I think Kevin missed a real opportunity to provide some much needed context in this debate. While Rs complain bitterly about 10 Bush nominees having been blocked, more than 60 of Clintons nominees were blocked through parliamentary manuevering including secret holds and denial of hearing before the judiciary committee. Of course, it's possible that an editor removed any such context.
But here it is,
More than a dozen of President Clinton's Circuit Court nominees received the American Bar Association's (ABA) unanimous "well-qualified" rating, but their nominations were defeated because their hearings were rejected by Republicans.And in response to their hollow charges of racism, they should be reminded that two Clinton nominees for a Fifth Circuit, Enrique Moreno and Jorge Rangel, both rated "well-qualified" by the ABA were blocked from even having hearings by the Rs, much less a floor vote.
The following Circuit Court nominees from 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 are in this category: H. Alston Johnson (5th Circuit), James Duffy (9th Circuit), Kathleen McCree-Lewis (6th Circuit), Enrique Moreno (5th Circuit), James Lyons (10th Circuit), Robert Cindrich (3rd Circuit), Stephen Orlofsky (3rd Circuit), Andre Davis (4th Circuit), James Beaty (4th Circuit), and J. Rich Leonard (4th Circuit).
Allen Snyder (D.C. Circuit), who was also rated "well-qualified" by the ABA, received a hearing but was not allowed a vote by the Republican-controlled Committee.
More than a dozen other Circuit Court nominees with "partial well-qualified" or "qualified" ratings were also defeated by Republicans who blocked their hearings or votes, including Helene White (6th Circuit), Jorge Rangel (5th Circuit), Robert Raymer (3rd Circuit), Barry Goode (9th Circuit), Christine Arguello (10th Circuit), Elizabeth Gibson (4th Circuit), Elana Kagan (D.C. Circuit), James Wynn (4th Circuit), Bonnie Campbell (8th Circuit), Kent Markus (6th Circuit), and Roger Gregory (4th Circuit).
Dozens of District Court nominees from 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 with unanimous "well-qualified" or "qualified" ratings also were blocked by Republican refusal to give them hearings or votes. In all, nearly 60 of President Clinton's judicial nominees were defeated through Republican blocking of hearings and votes, despite their ABA ratings.
Here is what President Clinton said in July 2000,
"They are so determined to keep an African-American off the court, they have allowed a 25 percent vacancy rate on the Fourth Circuit, just to keep an African-American off the court," [Clinton] said.So why doesn't the liberal media call them on this?
He also cited the example of Enrique Moreno, whose nomination was opposed by Texas' Republican senators, who said Moreno lacked experience.
"Texas' senators said he was not qualified, because to them he was not a guaranteed ideological vote," Clinton said.
Clinton said he has appointed one of the most diverse federal judiciaries in history, with almost half of his appointees women and minorities.
"Justice may be blind, but we all know that diversity in the courts, as in all aspects of society, sharpens our vision and makes us a stronger nation," Clinton said in a written statement from the White House.