Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kay's gay judge suggestion...

Kay and Big John are pushing for an openly gay judge to become the federal attorney for Texas (link). Excerpt follows...

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has sent the White House two suggestions for the post of U.S. attorney in San Antonio. One of the candidates is a highly regarded career prosecutor and judge who also, it turns out, is openly gay.

Some Republicans are vehemently and unapologetically not ready for that. That could make it even harder for Hutchison to woo social conservatives in her bid to outflank and oust Gov.Rick Perry in March.

Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition, a former member of the Republican National Committee – and, like nearly all prominent social conservatives in Texas who have picked sides, a Perry supporter – called the recommendation "very unusual and disturbing."

"I suspect that a lot of Republican primary voters would find it interesting that Senator Hutchison would make that recommendation," Lambert said.

Last month, Hutchison and fellow GOP Sen. John Cornyn endorsed two applicants for chief prosecutor in the Western District of Texas, which includes Austin, San Antonio and El Paso: Robert Pitman, a U.S. magistrate in Austin, and San Antonio criminal defense lawyerMichael McCrum.

Pitman is highly regarded in legal circles. In a recent bar poll, lawyers rated him the most competent judge in Travis County.

"Senator Hutchison made her recommendations based on the merits of each individual's qualifications and their abilities," said spokesman Jeff Sadosky, declining to discuss potential political fallout.

Sadosky said he wasn't sure Hutchison knew about Pitman's sexual orientation. Cornyn did but didn't care, said spokesman Kevin McLaughlin. "A person's sexuality has no bearing on his qualifications for a job. ... It's just not even remotely considered," he said.

Pitman's sexual orientation was a key element of a 2003 profile in theAustin American-Statesman. A Fort Worth native, he was student body president at Abilene Christian University, studied law at the University of Texas at Austin and spent 13 years as a federal prosecutor, including a brief stint as acting U.S. attorney for the Western District.

McCrum's prospects are stronger, though. He's the only applicant endorsed by the Texas Democratic congressional delegation, led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin. Doggett spokeswoman Sarah Dohlcalled Pitman "an incredibly able public servant" and said his sexual orientation had nothing to do with his exclusion from the Democrats' list.

Dan Graney, Texas president of the Stonewall Democrats, a gay group, called the senators' effort to name an openly gay U.S. attorney "ironic," given that – in Graney's view – they share "horrendous" records on same-sex marriage and other gay-rights issues.

"I'm sure the religious right, which is backing Perry, would grab onto that and throw that into Hutchison's face," he said. "They love these hot-button issues."

A Perry campaign spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

I don't think very many people will change their vote on this issue, and I think Rick's campaign response is the right one. Don't wade into this muck... I think Kay won't win or lose any supporters due to this issue, so it is not something to worry too much about even if Rick or his surrogates bring this up down the line.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.