Brownback’s Double Standard

We have been following Sen. Sam Brownback’s on-going hold of Janet Neff’s nomination to serve on the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan because Brownback is concerned that Neff attended a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple back in 2002.  

Brownback is stalling her nomination simply because she attended a commitment ceremony in her personal capacity, but now said that he will consider lifting his hold on her nomination – but only if she agrees to recuse herself from any case that deals with the issue of same-sex unions

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a potential presidential candidate, said Friday he would lift his hold on a federal judicial nominee if she agrees to step aside from any case dealing with same-sex unions.

Brownback, a Republican raising money for a possible White House bid, has stalled the confirmation of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet Neff to the federal bench because she once attended a lesbian commitment ceremony.

Neff has said she attended the ceremony as a friend of one of the two women, a longtime neighbor. She insisted in an Oct. 12 letter to Brownback that the ceremony had no legal effect and would not affect her ability to act fairly as a federal judge.

Brownback, a prominent gay marriage opponent, says he is concerned the incident colors her legal view on the constitutionality of allowing same-sex marriages.

It should be noted that Brownback voted to confirm William Pryor to a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals despite Pryor’s open hostility to Supreme Court precedent and his extremist views on church-state separation, gay rights, and other matters

During an April 1997 rally, Pryor decried the decades-old precedent of Roe. He said, “I will never forget January 22, 1973, the day seven members of our highest court ripped the Constitution…” In a survey of state attorneys general on the issue, Pryor said, “Abortion is murder and Roe v. Wade is an abominable decision.” Pryor opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

One of Pryor’s most memorable efforts to move the law closer to his ideology is seen through Alabama Justice Roy Moore’s crusade to defy a federal court order and display the Ten Commandments in his courtroom and on other state property. Moore parlayed his refusal to remove such a display, even after a court ordered him to do so, into a successful campaign for the state’s top judgeship. There, he again displayed his Ten Commandments, this time on a granite monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

William Pryor has backed Judge Moore, even though the judge’s actions plainly violate the Constitution’s requirement of the separation of church and state.

… Speaking at a rally in support of Judge Moore in 1997, Pryor said, “God has chosen, through his son Jesus Christ, this time and this place for all Christians…to save our country and save our courts.”

Brownback made no such demands that Pryor recuse himself from any case involving the Ten Commandments or reproductive choice, even though there was no doubt about Pryor’s views on the issues and how he would rule in such cases – yet, Brownback is now demanding that Neff agree to recuse herself from any case involving the issue of same-sex unions merely because she attended a commitment ceremony.