It is well-known that there were more filibusters during Obama’s first term than in the entire previous history of the Senate, forcing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resort to the extraordinary measure of changing Senate rules. As a result of the GOP obstruction of presidential appointments, federal judicial offices are grossly understaffed and overworked.
Yet GOP senators Marco Rubio and Richard Burr recently blocked two more judicial nominations. What’s shocking and somewhat amusing about their GOP-stopping moves is that both of the nominees were recommended to President Obama by the very same GOP senators who blocked them!
You read that correctly. Senators Marco Rubio and Richard Burr each recommended a judge then took the extraordinary step of “blue slipping” the candidates after President Obama nominated them. One of the nominees, William Thomas, would have become the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge. He had been awaiting confirmation since late 2012 until the president finally withdrew the nomination.
That, of course, raises a few questions. Did Rubio not know that Thomas was gay when he recommended him to the White House? What possible impact could Thomas’ sexual orientation have on his ability to perform as a competent judge?
And what of Burr’s recommendation? He refuses to say why he blocked Jennifer May-Parker. Did he learn of something that would disqualify her as a federal judge? Did he contract amnesia or dementia forgetting that he had made the recommendation? Did he nominate her only because he secretly disliked her and wanted to torture her by leaving her nomination twisting in the wind? Or is he blocking her nomination simply as the result of his Teapublican anti-Obama fever?
These are all fair questions.
Whatever the answers, such behavior is worse than bad politics. It’s outright nincompoopery! And now Rubio expects us to take him seriously as a potential presidential nominee? More important, given the behavior of the GOP for the past decade, why would voters take any of their candidates seriously?