Brownback’s Filibuster

As we noted last week, Sen. Sam Brownback has placed a hold on one of President Bush’s judicial nominees, Janet Neff, because Neff allegedly presided over a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple back in 2002.  

Despite the fact that Neff was nominated to a seat on the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan, which is about 1,000 miles away from Brownback’s home state of Kansas, he has taken it upon himself to stall her nomination until he can determine whether she did something he considers illegal (even though a symbolic commitment ceremony is not illegal in any state.)

To that end, he has reportedly gotten the Justice Department involved

Mr. Brownback has asked the U.S. Justice Department for a formal legal opinion in addition to asking Judge Neff specific questions.

Of course, last year, Brownback set out his principle for dealing with judges, saying

“All of the president’s nominees—both now and in the future—deserve a fair up or down vote, regardless of whether some members of the Senate feel they can be filibustered based on whatever they define to be extraordinary circumstances.”

Apparently, that standard doesn’t apply to any nominee about whom Brownback has concerns.