Christy Hardin SmithCommunity

SCOTUS: Tipping The Scales Between Politics And The Rule Of Law

The vote on Sonia Sotomayor’s SCOTUS nomination is likely to come at 3 pm ET today.

Would that other legal positions were also a priority in the Senate.  This is what happens when you fail to make the rule of law a priority:

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), speaking at the start of a committee meeting, expressed frustration that the Senate has not confirmed any nominees to the federal judiciary this year. In all, he said, there are 17 nominations that the Judiciary Committee has sent to the full Senate and that are still awaiting confirmation.

"The Senate has to do better," Leahy said. "There’s actually no excuse for not having moved yet."

What’s the logjam, you ask? A failure on any number of fronts, including a big fat failure of leadership:

…senators haven’t come to agreement to bring them to a vote.

The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has contributed to the slowdown among legal nominations. She is likely to be confirmed next week, and the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he hopes to break the backlog of other nominees before the Senate recess set to begin Aug. 7.

Who hasn’t yet been approved? We’re still waiting for Senate action on Dawn Johnsen.  That this is beyond irritating is no news to regulars here.

But there are also 5 USAtty positions, 3 other DOJ leadership positions [Thomas E. Perez (civil rights), Mary L. Smith (tax), and Christopher Schroeder (Office of Legal Policy)], 3 federal judges [David F. Hamilton (7th Circuit); Gerard Lynch (2nd Circuit); and Andre M. Davis (4th Circuit)] and other legal advisers peppered throughout the executive branch pending votes. 

The continued lack of political will on rule of law issues is unacceptable. Period. 

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com