The President’s nominees deserve an up or down vote, and we must vote on them for the sake of the Constitution. Otherwise, we are destroying the Republic and violating the principles our forefathers laid out for us. Except in this case:
While Republican senators insist on prompt votes for every judicial nominee, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) has placed a “hold” on President Bush’s nomination of Julie Finley as ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Mrs. Finley is well qualified. Like many ambassadorial appointees, she has been a major Republican fundraiser, but she has also been a strong and active advocate in Washington for the expansion of NATO, the integration of Turkey into the European Union and the spread of democracy to countries of the former Soviet Union. These are issues that would be central in her new post — and issues that Mr. Brownback also has highlighted. Nevertheless, Mr. Brownback, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, as of last night was employing a parliamentary maneuver to block any Senate vote — on the grounds that Mrs. Finley is pro-choice on abortion.
The move may please Republican anti abortion activists, who have launched a campaign against Mrs. Finley, demanding that the president withdraw her nomination. But the hold is repugnant, on both procedural and substantive grounds. If a filibuster is at best a controversial way of deciding policy, allowing a single senator to have effective say over whether to hold a vote on a particular presidential appointment would seem completely unacceptable.
Personally, I think she should just tell Sen. Brownback that she is pro-choice because of religious convictions. After all, when someone says they have firm religious beliefs, we all have to just back off and go along with whatever they believe in or be tarred as anti-religous, right?
I really hope that the Democrats nominate some Wiccans or Buddhists when they next win the Presidency. That will be just too much damned fun.
And, for the pure sake of intellectual honesty- I have no problem with Brownback placing a hold on this woman. I think they should be able to do things like this, and we should go back to the blue slip rule and the other tools we had used for years in regards to judicial nominations.