July 19, 2011

By and with the Advice and Consent of Ron Johnson

Senate candidate Ron Johnson maturing quickly
Wisconsin State Journal, 08/01/10
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Craig Gilbert has more on Ron Johnson's intransigence. In a nutshell, Johnson wants to undo literally two years of work by the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, and is moaning because he can't pick four instead of three members to the 12-member Commission. One minute Ron Johnson is saying nobody knows who Victoria Nourse is, and the next he's calling her "extreme."

The current vacancy became effective on January 7, 2010, one year before Johnson became a Senator. The entire process devoted to filling the vacancy took place while Johnson was still shipping plastic from his federally funded rail spur and extolling the economic virtues of China.

Johnson campaigned on promises to cut government spending. Now he wants to waste another two years reviewing applicants for a position that became a judicial emergency on July 7 due to the number of case filings that have accumulated with the Seventh Circuit in the meantime.

The Federal Nominating Commission as constituted prior to Johnson's arrival in the Senate consisted of four members each chosen by Sen. Herb Kohl and former Sen. Russ Feingold, two chosen by the State Bar, and the deans of the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University law schools. Now Johnson tells the MJS he wants a re-do, and he wants to pick the four members in place of those chosen by Sen. Feingold.

Eleven applications to the vacancy were received by September, 2009, and two months later, six of those were presented to Obama. From those six, Obama selected Prof. Nourse. Apparently Ron Johnson wants us to believe that if he got to pick four members of the Commission, then the six prospective judges presented to Obama would be different, or else Obama would have selected a prospective judge more in keeping with Ron Johnson's comically harebrained views of the judiciary.*

Either of which scenario is nonsense, obviously. In fact if Obama had a sense of humor, he'd nominate Ron Johnson to the Seventh Circuit.

What Johnson is pulling is obstruction, pure and simple. He's crying like a baby because a vacancy on the court was announced, prospective candidates were solicited and reviewed by a committee of competent professionals, their recommendations were forwarded to the president, and the president made his nomination, all before Ron Johnson even arrived on the scene. Now Johnson wants to put it off until July, 2013.

And at the moment, Ron Johnson unilaterally will not even allow Prof. Nourse a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, a hearing from which Johnson could clearly stand to learn a great deal, including about the qualifications of the nominee, who Johnson declares either unknown or extreme, depending upon which day you ask him.

The Seventh Circuit presides over Illinois and Indiana as well, so those folks can also thank Sen. Ron Johnson for his pointless recalcitrance.

The Wisconsin seat Johnson is presenting them is his Wisconsin backside.

* With which Ron Johnson recently hired former MJS right-wing calumnist Patrick McIlheran — whose own views of the judiciary are not only equally harebrained but downright dishonest — to assist him.


OneidaHeights said...

This morning's ROJO interview with Morning Jo.

illusory tenant said...

What Ron Johnson condemns to Mike Barnicle as "silly, absurd, crazy" -- "behind closed doors, a few folks doin' it" -- is precisely what he's doing with this judicial nominee. Worse, in fact, as it's not a few folks but only one hypocrite.

CJ said...

His thinking and sequential logic process bewilders me.

Anonymous said...

It appears we have a similar problem in the W.H.

Anonymous said...

Well, the same thing happened with the Fourth Circuit during W's Administration. Both home state Senators (John Warner and George Allen) supported William Haynes who was obstructed for about 5 years. Then when Allen was defeated by Jim Webb, Bush was forced to withdraw the nomination.

illusory tenant said...

But what's Johnson's objection to this nominee? The objection to Haynes' had to do with his involvement with the Bush/Cheney administration's "torture memos."

gnarlytrombone said...

And Claude Allen!

Anonymous said...

maybe what sen roman hruska said about the nomination of harold carswell to the supreme court applies to ron johnson holding office- "the mediocre people need to be represented too."

Anonymous said...

The merits of the objection to Haynes are not really relevant. The point is he had the support of home state Senators, and then, when the Senate composition changed, he lost the support of one of them. Whether the loss of support was for cause or not for cause is not really an issue if we are talking about process and allowing newly elected Senators to affect the nomination already made.*

*Incidentally, technically, the Nourse nomination is a "new" nomination that occured after the election of Ron Johnson. The "old" nomination was returned to the President with the expiration of the previous Congress.

illusory tenant said...

You're right, Anon, it doesn't matter what the merits of the objections to Haynes were. The merits of the objections to Haynes are only relevant insofar as there existed merits to the objection. But in this case, Johnson has nothing.

Anonymous said...

As a general matter, I think the confirmation process is broken, and agree that Johnson's obstruction should end. However, in terms of "having nothing," neither did Carl Levin when he obstructed a number of Bush nominees simply because his cousin-in-law (Helene White), who was nominated under Clinton was not confirmed. That ended only when Bush in the waning months of his Presidency renominated White. So it's not like Johnson is doing anything out of the ordinary (which I suppose is the saddest thing of all).