Senate Democrat Bob Menendez Blocks Obama's Judicial Nominee Because Judge's Boyfriend Was Mean to Him
Thanks to the unhappy combination of grotesquely arcane Senate rules, Democratic fecklessness and Republican obstruction, there are now 86 vacancies in the federal court system, 37 pending nominations, and 32 "judicial emergencies," in which under-staffed courts are overwhelmed with cases.
This is a real problem because in addition to adjudicating controversies about whether undocumented immigrants have the right to transport arms across state lines while travelling to a state-subsidized abortion appointment, or whatever, the federal court system also deals with a lot of routine cases in which millions of dollars, and justice for the aggrieved parties, is at stake.
Faced with the prospect of an overwhelmed judicial branch populated by George W. Bush appointees, Senate Democrats have two options: either get creative with parliamentary procedure and confirm some judges or just turn the Senate into a performance art piece mocking the very idea of representative government…
…in an unusual case of intraparty defiance, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey is holding up President Obama's nomination of a judge to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the only time a Democrat has tried to block one of Mr. Obama's judicial nominees.
Mr. Menendez would not comment. But the nominee, Patty Shwartz, has been in a relationship for more than two decades with the head of the public corruption unit for New Jersey's federal prosecutor. And that unit investigated the senator during his 2006 election fight, an inquiry Mr. Menendez has long contended was politically motivated.
Somehow, Senators have collectively decided that the "blue slip," a piece of paper carrying a recommendation from a nominee's home state Senators, is a magical piece of paper imbued with force of law rather than an outdated courtesy. And Menendez — who circumstantial evidence suggests is a corrupt sleaze since he's an elected official from New Jersey – is not handing his slip in because a NJ prosecutor and longtime companion of Judge Shwartz once had the gall to subpoena his records.
Therefore, Judge Shwartz, who is rated "unanimously well qualified" by the American Bar Association, isn't getting a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, because screw you buddy, that's why.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Barack Obama, Corruption, Judiciary, New Jersey, Robert Menendez, Senate