May 23, 2009

Sessions needs more time to grandstand

At the request of Republicans, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a planned vote Thursday on the confirmation of Indiana Judge David Hamilton to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) singled out Hamilton's 2005 ruling that prayers said at the start of Indiana House sessions must not mention Jesus Christ or advance any religion.
This is a "troubling" ruling, says Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who's only had IX-1/2 short weeks to examine it.

Judge Hamilton was reversed not on the merits or on his reasoning but on the question of the plaintiffs' legal standing to sue.

As discussed here previously, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had initially agreed with Judge Hamilton that the plaintiffs had standing to proceed, and the 7th Circuit in effect overruled itself in light of a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in another case dealing with Establishment Clause standing that appeared in the meantime.

In short, we don't know whether Judge Hamilton would have agreed with the Court of Appeals that the interim SCOTUS decision had a bearing on Hamilton's 2005 ruling, nor do we know whether the Court of Appeals would have affirmed Judge Hamilton on the merits had the plaintiffs been able to maintain their standing to proceed.

So, not a sufficiently complete record to get all "troubled" over.

Rather, this is about the gentleman from Alabama's attempts at even greater heights of inanity as the committee's ranking Republican than he managed to scale during his tenure as a journeyman posturer.

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