Wednesday, October 29, 2003

More on the Claude Allen hearing

Today's Washington Post has this article on the objections of the two Democratic senators from Maryland raised at the Senate committee hearing yesterday on the nomination to the Fourth Circuit of Claude Allen (who like William Haynes probably needs to buy a new house, maybe in Maryland).

The article says in part:

"Behind the dispute is a suspicion among Democrats that Bush turned to Virginia and its two GOP senators to avoid having to deal with the Maryland Democrats, who had objected to Bush's first choice for the seat. The administration contends that the choice of a Virginian is justified on grounds of population and caseload.

By shifting the seat to Virginia, Bush made a 'gross departure from practice' that normally guides presidents in apportioning seats on multi-state circuit courts, [Sen.]Sarbanes told the Senate Judiciary Committee at the start of a hearing on Allen's nomination. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) called on Bush to withdraw the nomination, and Sarbanes said he plans to oppose the nomination 'with all the strength I can muster.'

Sarbanes said later that he will filibuster the nomination if it comes to the Senate floor. It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, a high hurdle for the 51-member GOP majority in the 100-member chamber. Democrats have successfully filibustered three nominees this year and are considering trying to block a few others."

The reasoning of Senator Sarbanes seems even lousier than that of the NY Times in its opposition to some of the court of appeals nominees. There are two Marylanders on the Fourth Circuit, so it is not like they are being shut out. On the other hand, ironically, Senators Warner and Allen from Virginia were making some of the same arguments against the nominee to replace Judge H.E. Widener, Jr., on the Fourth Circuit with a fellow who lives in D.C.

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