Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kay and Big John overruled on judges.

Texas Senate duo Big John and Kay seemingly easily won a big battle over Texas judicial picks made by the President last week (link). The understanding seemed to be that Texas two Senators would send their choices for U.S. judge, U.S. attorney, or U.S. marshall to President Obama and he would then officially nominate them.

The latest word, from the Dallas Morning News, is that declaring Kay and Big John the winners might have been premature (link). Excerpt follows:

WASHINGTON – The fight over control of federal nominations in Texas came to head today, with the White House proclaiming that Democratic lawmakers – not the state’s Republican senators – get to send names to the president for consideration.

“No federal judge, U.S. Attorney or U.S. Marshal will be nominated by the president… unless that person has the confirmed support of the Texas Democratic delegation,” the White House said in a statement provided to The Dallas Morning News.

The decision is sure to rile Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, who have demanded an ongoing, central role in selecting nominees.


“Elections have consequences,” Doggett said. “…Of course we’ll talk with the senators and ask them to share their views. We’ve never suggested otherwise.”

The White House statement served as a fairly direct rejection of Cornyn’s assertion last week that “we have an understanding with the Obama administration.”

As Republicans saw it, they would continue screening candidates and sending finalists to the White House, and if Democrats had a candidate, they would have to submit to that screening process, too.

Here is the full White House statement:

"The Texas Democratic members of the House of Representatives have, at the request of the White House, engaged in a process that involves interviewing potential candidates for federal judge, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal. The White House supports the Texas Democratic delegation’s established process for reviewing and submitting candidates. Individuals seeking these positions should utilize this process to ensure full consideration by the White House."

"The President of the United States will make the final decision as to who will be nominated and sent to the Senate for confirmation. No federal judge, U.S. Attorney or U.S. Marshal will be nominated by the President, however, unless that person has the confirmed support of the Texas Democratic delegation. The Texas U.S. Senators will be accorded a full opportunity to share their views about each candidate whom the President proposes to nominate."

In essence, Kay and Big John have been neutered in the process. How much will they fight back? Kay, with a Republican primary coming up in one year, could try to position herself as a scrappy fighter against the overreaching liberal Obama administration. Will she?

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