Women of the country, rejoice! Sanity has reared her head in Rhode Island. 11 Senate Republicans have joined Democrats to overcome the GOP filibuster which lead to the confirmation of a federal judge who used to work for Planned Parenthood. Yes, freedom still rages on in some areas of our beloved country where the stains of Bircher tea have not permeated.
A 63-33 tally advanced President Obama’s nomination past the 60 votes needed to overcome the GOP filibuster. 11 Republicans joined Democrats to overcome the 60 vote threshold. Gosh, I remember when the Republicans were claiming that filibusters were un-American and unconstitutional. Perhaps they can borrow one of those pocket Constitutions their freshman Tea Party brethren brought to DC, just to brush up?
The Republican plan to filibuster McConnell’s nomination failed, allowing the Senate to then vote 50-44 along party lines to confirm lawyer John McConnell, knowing that he had at one time dared to dally in women’s freedom of choice as director of a Rhode Island Planned Parenthood from 1997 until 2001. He also had the temerity to give to Emily’s list. Normally we send law-abiding supporters of women’s freedom to media shaming hell for daring to support a legal right, so this is odd. The Right wing is outraged that any man who once gave to Emily’s list and thereby supported women’s rights could possibly be considered for the bench; the law and women’s rights obviously being incompatible if one is an activist seeking to take away rights, including medical decisions, from women.
Freedom of choice over our bodies is a legal right (in spite of the relentless assault of a rather suspicious type of male legislator), but somehow Republicans act as if daring to support this right is an automatic disqualification. In other words, they think someone who upholds the legal rights of women has no business being on the bench. This is the Republican Party we’re talking about, so this is surely justified by a cherry picked section of the Bible, Old Testament style.
Speaking of God (as we always are if we are discussing Republicans, and hence you can see the urgency for those pocket Constitutions to emerge), as if McConnell’s brush with women’s freedom weren’t insulting enough, the Chamber of Commerce — also known as the GOP God, also known as their union, if you will — denounced McConnell as anti-business because he represented people who were suing businesses –imagine the gall of thinking that people matter against corporations.
USA! USA! USA!
“A few years ago, Republican senators argued that filibusters of judicial nominees were unconstitutional. They said that every nominee was entitled to an up or down vote,” said Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Well, of course they said that with a Republican president. Now suddenly things have changed.”
Many more of Obama’s judicial nominees are being held up because Republicans won’t consent to scheduling votes.
Republicans said they’re committed to confirming consensus nominees but that McConnell was simply too anti-business…
“His legal career has been marked by a pervasive and persistent hostility to American job creators,” said GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is not related to the nominee. “This bias against one part of American society is fundamentally antithetical to the rule of law.”
Mitch’s comment implies that his party’s consistent hostility toward liberal beliefs, unions, women, children, minorities and the working class is fundamentally antithetical to the rule of law, and for this admission, I thank him. This is definitely an understanding that we can build upon.
In the meantime, someone really ought to tell the Republicans that refusing to confirm a judge based on their law-abiding ideology is activism just as much as pushing for a judge who shares your beliefs is.
But let’s focus on the bright spot as we head into the weekend. What we have here, folks, is a true victory for America as 11 brave Senate Republicans joined with the Democrats to break the filibuster. They include Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Susan Collins of Maine, Lyndsey Graham of South Carolina, and John Thune of South Dakota.
Read that list again, because it appears that while we have the usual suspects of sane folks (or those playing sane folks in preparation for a shot at the big seat, yes, Scott Brown, we see you going to Afghanistan) we also have several whose names are rather surprising. I’m compelled to wonder if John McCain is attempting to grab any remaining vestige of his dignity and reclaim his maverick mantle before it’s too late. Lindsey can be said to be following his BF McCain, but John Thune, what are you doing?
At any rate, we should all be so lucky as to live in Rhode Island and have the comfort of knowing that at least this federal judge is pro-people and pro women’s legal right to freedom of choice over their own bodies. The Republicans are upset because he might actually rule to uphold the law as far as women’s rights go and people’s rights. I call that a win for the law.
This is rare victory in a sea of knuckle-dragging assaults on legal freedoms, so live it up people.