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Pat Toomey arguing for background checks April 17, 2013
Pat Toomey should not be in charge of President Obama's nominations to the bench.

The White House has made some bad deals with Republican senators, trying to get some judicial nominees through. One of those Republican picks, Michael Boggs in Georgia is facing what looks right now to be insurmountable opposition from Democrats, making the process a headache for the White House and Senate leadership. That problem won't be repeated in Pennsylvania, where progressives have effectively derailed a nominee "aligned with groups opposed to abortion rights, gay rights and gun control."
Keystone Progress, a statewide progressive advocacy group, has been campaigning for months to prevent Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) from recommending corporate lawyer David Porter to President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The group learned in late March that Porter was part of a package of as many as eight judicial nominees being negotiated in "a backroom deal," and Casey and Toomey were expected to present it to the White House at any moment.

The group immediately launched a campaign urging people to oppose the "Tea Party lawyer" potentially headed for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, and teamed up with and RH Reality Check to circulate petitions to stop Porter's nomination. Among other things, Porter heads the Federalist Society's Pittsburgh Lawyers Chapter, helped found a coalition that tried to stop Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation, and is a contributor and trustee at the conservative Center for Vision and Values.

Two months later, after collecting nearly 40,000 signatures, the group's efforts appear to have paid off. Two sources familiar with negotiations on the package told The Huffington Post that Porter is out and the package has stalled.

These bad nominees—the ones who are absolutely antithetical to what President Obama stands for and who would tarnish his legacy for the whole of their lifetime terms—don't have to be forwarded. The solution is pretty darned simple, if Senate leadership is willing to do it. Stop honoring the blue slip tradition that allows the minority to block a nominee. The White House is making these bad deals to try to get some good nominees through. It doesn't have to work that way and we don't have to be stuck with bad judges for decades to come.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:54 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (38+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:54:28 PM PDT

  •  More about 'we the people" than POTUS (6+ / 0-)

       While I understand the argument you made - as this is about Obama, it is much more about us - We The People who stand to lose a whole lot more that he ever will.  

         Thanks for all the action in PA to take on this task.

  •  umm . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    These bad nominees—the ones who are absolutely antithetical to what President Obama stands for and who would tarnish his legacy for the whole of their lifetime terms
    . . . it does make one wonder what indeed the current POTUS stands for.  

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:18:11 PM PDT

  •  It is my pleasure to sign your petition. (4+ / 0-)

    Both of my PA senators are anathema to me. But Ptooey is the worse.

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:24:28 PM PDT

  •  As a long time donor to Keystone Progress, (4+ / 0-)

    I am very glad this was accomplished.

    I plan on working toward 2 more goals after this November's election...Remove Pat Toomey  and replace him with a REAL Democrat as our second Senator, and moving Bob Casey more toward the left from the moderate right position he now occupies...although I think this campaign sent him a wakeup call.

    Also working toward removing long time very rightist Rep Joe Pitts from office after decades of selling out the people of our state.

    Thanks to Keystone Progress for fighting for the PEOPLE of our state.

    You look at some people and wonder how they found their way out of the birth canal....

    by old mark on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:26:02 PM PDT

    •  me too, they have done good work on many (0+ / 0-)

      issues here in the state along with other PA Democratic and progressive groups to push hard against the privatization schemes of Corbett too and against Voter ID.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

      by wishingwell on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:34:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes but the good thing about Casey is when push (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Samer, old mark

      comes to shove, he will vote with the Democrats on bills. He very eagerly voted for ACA and for ending DADT and more.

      We need to move him further left but he is making strides and when it is time to vote, rarely does he not vote with Democrats..very , very rarely if at all.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

      by wishingwell on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:36:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He IS reliable, and I believe well intentioned... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just want to see him more labor oriented and generally more progressive in his voting. I do understand that PA has more than our share of right wing ignorant crazies, but we do have a lot of old line Union and labor Democrats who seem to have been neglected for a long time...and would really respond to a little Democratic political love.

        You look at some people and wonder how they found their way out of the birth canal....

        by old mark on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 04:29:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Joe Sestak should rid Pennsylvania ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... of it's meddlesome Toomey problem in 2016.
    But what the hell is Bob Casey thinking?

    •  On some issues Casey is strong and often when (0+ / 0-)

      push comes to shove , he votes with the majority of Democrats on most legislation. On this issue, I do not know what is the matter with him? But I will say this, he will back the President 100 pct and if the President wants something, often Casey will..

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

      by wishingwell on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:38:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two words: (0+ / 0-)

      Anti Choice.  Porter is of the same mind on this issue as Casey and Toomey.

  •  The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Had Great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    jurists when A. Leon Higgenbotham (internationally acclaimed humanitarian and outstanding legal scholar) was the president justice and John J. Sirica (of Watergate fame) was on the bench, but when they retired, justice went with them and we got stuck with that asshole Samuel Alito heading the 3rd Circuit "court" of Appeals.

    US District "court" -- MDPA (Williamsport)  "judge" James F. McClure (Republican "law & order" hypocrite, Reagan appointee, and spoiled rotten son of a "judge") was one of the worst federal "court" "judges" ever.  
    He was so stinking intellectually dishonest and corrupt that Lock Haven civil rights attorney Thomas Quinlan wrote and filed that McClure "was lower than whale dung and dumber than wallpaper".  McClure ordered Mr. Quinlan to undergo 3 years of psychiatric treatment before he would be considered for readmission to the federal MDPa bar, and Mr. Quinlan vanished from the court scene.
    Philadelphia civil rights attorney Traci Roman Brandeis  told McClure what she thought of him and it cost her $30,000.00 for the privilege.
    Numerous other attorneys ran afoul of the tyrannical casefixer McClure and were cited for contempt in his kangaroo kourt for not worshipping him.

  •  This is what makes the "obstruction" defense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuck utzman

    ring hollow. Even when they have the ability to do things, they don't; instead they engage in this fishy kabuki. I mean, how much of the squabbling is just for show, to make D's think they want to do the right thing while they line their pockets and serve the oligarchy?

    Obama and the Senate are wasting valuable time on providing this country with competent, sane judges, and there is absolutely no excuse.

    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:37:22 PM PDT

  •  We busted our butts to get filibuster reform & (0+ / 0-)

    now we get this. Disgraceful.

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:48:18 PM PDT

  •  One more reason (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Harry Reid must go. He's useless and sold his soul long ago.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:51:21 PM PDT

  •  out of curiosity... (0+ / 0-)

    why isnt Patrick Leahy (D-milquetoast) ever primaried by an actual progressive??

    Progressives keep their $ in credit unions, not big banks....find one now:

    by grrr on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 07:41:41 PM PDT

  •  Congrats to Mike Morrill (0+ / 0-)

    of Keystone Progress, a regular at Netroots Nation, for getting 40K Internet signatures to stop a bad nomination that might otherwise have snuck through.  

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 08:15:28 PM PDT

  •  I'm very sorry. (0+ / 0-)

    My brain put an extra 'r' in your title when I first read it.  I bet you can guess where, too.  It was very unfortunate.

    "Actually, I just like saying Benghazi. Benghazi benghazi benghazi benghazi!" --Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA

    by jackdabastard on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 09:36:32 PM PDT

  •  Senator Toomey (0+ / 0-)

    has already been able to put a very conservative Republican on the Federal District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania; Matthew Brann.  It appears that Casey allows Toomey to pick nominees for possibly 1 out of every 3 vacancies.  This is really awful.  Judge Brann was very active in the Republican Party in Pennsylvania.  Here's an excerpt from his confirmation hearing:
    Brann, who is active in Republican politics in Pennsylvania, faced the most challenging questioning of the hourlong hearing at which five candidates for federal judgeships and a spot on the U.S. Sentencing Commission were considered.
    Citing Brann's involvement with the state Republican Party, the National Rifle Association and the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called him "probably the most Republican judicial nominee from the Obama White House."
    "Can you in fact separate what has been strong political views and activism from your role as an impartial decision-maker?" she asked.
    So Obama is putting people from the Federalist Society, NRA, and anti-abortion groups on the courts thanks to caving to Toomey.  This type of person would never be nominated by a Clinton or Carter White House.

  •  Awful pick, another attempt to alienate liberals (0+ / 0-)

    James Carville once said that Obama likes pissing off his base.  Well, he sure as hell did it here with this terrible pick.  

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