Breitbart News previously reported on the Senate rejecting Caitlin Halligan’s nomination to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Now Halligan has withdrawn her nomination, and President Barack Obama is outraged that senators are now doing what he himself did when he was a Senator.
One wonders if he grasps the depth of his hypocrisy, or if he instead believes he doesn’t have to live by the same rules he expects others to abide by. He’s condemning senators for doing precisely what he did several years ago.
Obama lamented, “I am deeply disappointed that even after nearly two and a half years, a minority of senators continued to block a simple up-or-down vote on her nomination.” He could have been referring to what he did as Senator.
As the Wall Street Journal noted in “Obama’s Judicial Payback,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) suggested he was a good sport for “allowing” an up-or-down vote on Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court in 1991. But that shows how unprecedented it was to filibuster judicial nominees until Obama’s and Reid’s Democrats started doing so in 2001, when Republican President George W. Bush was in office.
And once Obama joined the Senate in 2005, he joined in this new judicial filibuster practice with gusto.
During that time, Obama voted to filibuster Peter Keisler for roughly two years to the same D.C. Circuit, just like has now happened to Halligan. Keisler had impeccable credentials, and was filibustered simply because he had a reputation as a conservative.
Nor did Obama confine it to appeals court nominees. He actually voted to filibuster Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. And though he did not filibuster John Roberts, he also voted against Roberts for Chief Justice.
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Obama helped break the Senate confirmation process for federal judge nominees when he served in that body. In fact, he was one of the worst offenders.
“A man reaps what he sows,” the Bible tells us. Obama just got a lesson in theology. Now, will he get religion on Senate confirmations?
Hopefully Republicans are causing enough frustration on this issue for Democrats to rethink judicial filibusters. It should be expected that Democrats try to nominate liberals, and Republicans (sometimes) try to nominate conservatives. Elections have consequences. Maybe if both sides agree, after the 2016 election we could go back to the standard that served this country well for two centuries, and once again allow well-credentialed nominees from any president to serve on the bench without regard to judicial philosophy.
The ball is in the liberals’ court on that issue, including Obama.
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.