Conservatives Divided on Whether to Filibuster Judicial Nominee
While one group of leading conservatives is pressing Republican senators to filibuster Obama’s nominee for a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, others are opposing the filibuster attempt.
The Hill reports that 24 leading conservative, led by former Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese, have signed a memo urging a fillibuster, saying “Judge [David] Hamilton is precisely the kind of liberal judicial activist who would use our federal courts as his own superlegislature.”
Hamilton, a district court judge in Indiana, former Fulbright fellow and former general counsel to Democratic Senator Evan Bayh when he was governor of Indiana, has become the most controversial of President Obama’s nominees to a federal appellate court so far. Although he’s expected to get an up-or-down vote this week because Democrats control 60 seats in the Senate, a filibuster would be seen as an indication of how some Republicans intend to treat Obama’s future nominees.
Opposing the filibuster effort is Manuel Miranda, a former Senate Republican leadership aide and chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a conservative coalition actively involved in debating judicial nominations. It might have been hard for Miranda to support the filibuster, given that his group was formerly known as the “National Committee to End the Judicial Filibuster.” The group wrote to the Senate during the Bush administration in 2005 demanding that the filibuster of judicial nominees be stopped.
That hasn’t stopped others who signed that 2005 letter from calling for a filibuster of Hamilton now. The Hill reports that nine of those who opposed judicial filibusters during the Bush administration have now signed the Meese-led memo urging GOP senators to block a vote on Hamilton.
Last summer, Miranda himself cast aside his previous concerns about the filibuster and called on Republicans to block a vote on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.