Grandstanding Over a Court Nominee

Monday, October 09, 2006

Grandstanding Over a Court Nominee

A few years ago, Senate Democrats were blasted by the president and GOP leaders for blocking judicial nominees from receiving a vote. But one of those Republicans who criticized Democrats' actions is himself preventing a judicial nominee from getting a floor vote.

And he's doing it for a silly reason. According to an AP story:
A Republican senator is holding up a Michigan judge's nomination to the federal bench because she reportedly helped lead a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple in Massachusetts four years ago.

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, an opponent of gay marriage who has presidential aspirations, said Friday he wants to know whether there was anything illegal or improper about the ceremony. He also said he wants to question Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff about her views on gay marriage and how her actions might shape her judicial philosophy.

"It seems to speak about her view of judicial activism," Brownback said. "That's something I want to inquire of her further."
There has never been anything "illegal" about a gay or lesbian couple having a commitment ceremony -- even if it preceded the Massachusetts court ruling that permitted same-sex marriage.

Still, lots of same-sex couples choose to have commitment ceremonies, even in jurisdictions that don't afford them equal marriage rights. Unless Brownback has some proof that Neff misrepresented the legal significance of this commitment ceremony, there's nothing here worthy of additional investigation.

It looks to me like Brownback is simply grandstanding over the issue because he wants to religious conservatives to bac his presidential run in 2008.

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