UPDATED: Sessions Will Vote to Block David Hamilton

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Monday, November 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, just said on the Senate floor that he will vote against cloture on the nomination of David Hamilton, the district court judge in Indiana nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sessions earlier wrote a letter to his colleagues urging them to oppose Hamilton.

Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly points out that four years ago, Sessions was singing a different tune:

“I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to put an anonymous hold on a judge; that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don’t like somebody the President nominates, vote him or her up or down. But don’t hold them in this anonymous unconscionable limbo.”

Yes, he called it “unconscionable.”

Update: In fact, that quote above, which I took from The Washington Monthly, was Sessions quoting Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), not Sessions speaking for himself.

However, Sessions himself said in 2003, referring to a filibuster of judicial nominations: “People on both sides of the aisle have understood it to be wrong. They have understood it to be in violation of the Constitution. . . . Mr. President, these nominees are entitled to an up-and-down vote. If a Member does not like them, he or she can vote against them. But it is time to move these nominees.”

Later that year on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Sessions complained that Democrats “blocked an up-or-down vote by carrying out the filibuster rule, and I think that’s a very, very grim thing. It should not occur.”

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