Attack on Judicial Nominee Leads Senate Panel to Delay Vote (NY Times, April 10, 2003, registration required): The Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote today on an Arkansas lawyer's nomination to the federal bench, after Democrats attacked his writings on religion, abortion and the role of women. The delay, requested by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, was an unusual step for the committee's Republicans, who generally unite firmly behind President Bush's nominees. This 52-year-old nominee, James Leon Holmes, former president of Arkansas Right to Life, seeks a seat on the Federal District Court in Little Rock, his hometown. Dr. Holmes, whose nomination was sent to the Senate in January, holds a Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and graduated first in his class at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he is now an adjunct professor. An editorial in The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette called him a "superbly qualified nominee" and an "outstanding lawyer, working scholar and eminent spirit among us."
But Democratic senators said today that whatever Dr. Holmes's professional and scholarly credentials, some of his writings warranted concern, particularly with regard to equality for women. One example the Democrats cited was a 1997 article that Dr. Holmes and his wife, Susan, wrote for a newspaper, Arkansas Catholic, about men, women and Roman Catholicism. The article said that "the wife is to subordinate herself to her husband" and that "the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man" in the same way that "the church is to place herself under the protection of Christ." The same article went on to say, "It is not a coincidence that the feminist movement brought with it artificial contraception and abortion on demand, with recognition of homosexual liaisons soon to follow."
So, thus far, we have two outright and continuing filibusters with Owen and Estrada, and a nomination hearing delayed by the Republicans with Holmes.
At this rate, if ever the White House sends forward someone who isn't a thoroughgoing ideologue, the Senate may well fall over itself confirming them, in the sheer relief at seeing someone generally acceptable. Of course, there's no sign that the White House is changing course, so one expects that there may be ideologue after ideologue tramping up the Hill to be sat on.
I must admit, I am moderately astonished that the president would send forward a person with that sort of published record. Anyone with a shred of sense would realize that the person was going to run into a buzzsaw, even before the Owen and Estrada nominations ran into trouble.Posted by iain at April 11, 2003 01:03 PM