The so-called U.S. senators of Alabama, Richard Shelby and Jefferson Davis Beauregard Sessions III. However did these junkyard dogs get elected to the U.S. Senate?
In the meantime, we have a crisis in our nation's judiciary, which has even prompted comment by Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court:
Republicans and Democrats must find a long-term solution to selecting federal judges, Chief Justice John Roberts says, while blaming both sides for the political gridlock of judicial nominations in the Senate.
.... There are more than 90 judicial vacancies in U.S. district and appellate courts. But only 60 nominees have been confirmed by the Senate for U.S. appellate and district courts in the past two years, with another 19 receiving no up-or-down vote.
I think Justice Roberts would be wise to dump the faux non-partisan stance and cast an assessing eye on the two unworthy senators of Alabama and their obstructive ways...
Recorded on February 4, 2010:
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold" on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.
"While holds are frequent," CongressDaily's Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report (sub. req.), "Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal." The magazine reported aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were the source of the news about Shelby's blanket hold.
.... Shelby has been tight-lipped about the holds, offering only an unnamed spokesperson to reporters today to explain them. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke the news of the blanket hold this afternoon. Reid aides told CongressDaily the hold extends to "all executive nominations on the Senate calendar."
At that point, Shelby had a couple of payoffs to negotiate:
- A $40 billion contract to build air-to-air refueling tankers to be built in Mobile, Ala., but the Northrop/EADS team has threatened to pull out of the competition unless the Air Force makes changes to a draft request for proposals."
- An improvised explosive device testing lab for the FBI. Shelby is ticked that the Obama administration won't build" the center, which Shelby earmarked $45 million for in 2008. The center is due to be based "at the Army's Redstone Arsenal."
Redstone Arsenal was originally a chemical weapons manufacturing facility for World War II, but became the focal point of the Army’s rocket and space projects, including development of the first U.S. ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles in the 1950s.
Harumph! I wonder how many greedy war-mongering corporate war contracting profiteers hang out around Redstone. How many cozy gated communities of military contractor mansions they have in the area.
Shelby, ever diligent in his homage to the military/industrial/corporate complex, has just taken down Peter A. Diamond, who has this to say about Shelby:
The leading opponent to my appointment, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the committee, has questioned the relevance of my expertise. “Does Dr. Diamond have any experience in conducting monetary policy? No,” he said in March. “His academic work has been on pensions and labor market theory.”
.... Senator Shelby also questioned my qualifications, asking: “Does Dr. Diamond have any experience in crisis management? No.” In addition to setting monetary policy in light of a proper understanding of unemployment, the Fed is responsible for avoiding banking crises, not just trying to mop up afterward.
.... But we should all worry about how distorted the confirmation process has become, and how little understanding of monetary policy there is among some of those responsible for its Congressional oversight. We need to preserve the independence of the Fed from efforts to politicize monetary policy and to limit the Fed’s ability to regulate financial firms.
Leading to further comment by Financial Times' Clive Crooks:
Peter Diamond’s decision to withdraw from contention for a seat on the Fed board is a very low moment in US politics. Diamond is an indisputably brilliant economist with no ideological baggage and highly relevant expertise–contrary to what his GOP critics say, and as he explains in his NYT article. It ought to be shocking, but it no longer is, that a man of his distinction could not get confirmed to the position. At times the US seems a country hell-bent on its own failure.
And we must never forget the other Alabama thug, Jefferson Davis Beauregard Sessions III, on Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, who criticizes her for not voting "like a Puerto Rican:
.... You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit. And in fact your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could’ve changed that case.
Spent a considerable amount of time harrying Sotomayor
The confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor have become, in a small but significant way, a referendum on the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who took over the post from Pennsylvania Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, is under intense pressure to land blows on Sotomayor without offending Hispanic voters. It's a tough task, made all the more difficult by Sessions' history of racially insensitive positions and statements....
"Sessions spent 30 minutes talking about lines in speeches taken out of context, instead of her 17 years on the bench," said one Democratic operative working on the Sotomayor confirmation. "When Judge Sotomayor tried to reference her work as a judge and her fidelity to the law in her more than 3000 judicial opinions, Sen. Sessions ignored her answers. In fact, in his 30 minutes of questioning, after spending weeks supposedly reviewing her judicial record, Sen. Sessions could only manage to mention one of her actual decisions as a judge."
And jumps on Sotomayor for her "Wise Latina" comment:
Sen. Jeff Sessions on Monday cited Sotomayor's much-publicized remarks about the notion that a "wise Latina" woman might be better suited than a white male without the same life experiences.
Alabama is a monstrous stain on the character of our nation.