Brownback Threatens to Renew Hold On Neff

Sen. Sam Brownback continues his one-man crusade against the nomination of Janet Neff over her attendance at a lesbian commitment ceremony in 2002, taking to the pages of The Grand Rapids Press to explain his opposition:

I placed what is known as a “hold” on the nomination of Judge Neff in order to get information on two items: First, what were the facts surrounding the same-sex ceremony? Second, how did Judge Neff view the legal issue of same-sex marriage under the United States Constitution: For example, did she believe that the law passed by the people of Michigan in 2004 to prohibit same-sex marriage violated the Constitution?

Neff was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October and Brownback claims that he had no choice but to put a hold on her nomination: 

Without the hold, we would not have had time to ask Judge Neff relevant questions and afford her the time to respond, and the nomination likely would have been passed by unanimous consent without debate — even though the consensus on the nominee clearly would not have been in fact unanimous.

Brownback’s claim is clearly bogus, as the Senate’s own website explains:  

A Senator may request unanimous consent on the floor to set aside a specified rule of procedure so as to expedite proceedings. If no Senator objects, the Senate permits the action, but if any one Senator objects, the request is rejected.

Unanimous Consent requires … well, unanimous consent.  As such, Brownback could have objected to any effort to confirm Neff by this method.  

As it stands now, Brownback appears resigned to defeat on this issue, but is still trying to save face by saying that so long as the Democratic “leadership will agree to a debate and an up-or-down roll call vote on the nomination … I will not reinstate the hold on Judge Neff.” 

Of course, the implication is that if he doesn’t get his way, he won’t hesitate to reinstate his hold.