RI’s Whitehouse Threatens Retribution if Controversial Judicial Nominee is Filibustered

Flash: The Most Important Judicial Nominee You Never Heard Of Up For Another Vote

William A. Jacobson
Legal Insurrection

I have written before about John “Jack” McConnell, Jr., a major Democratic Party campaign donor who had been nominated by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to an open seat on the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island.

In addition to questions surrounding the propriety of nominating someone who had donated several hundred thousand dollars to Democrats — including many in the Senate who would vote on his confirmation — there were allegations that McConnell’s law firm had misrepresented certain fees it earned during lead paint litigation for which it was hired by then Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse.  The Ocean State Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank, had served a public records request seeking information on the fee arrangement, but was rebuffed by McConnell’s law firm and the state.

McConnell’s name was left off the list of judicial nominees set for a floor vote over the summer, after Republican objections, which meant McConnell’s nomination had to go back to the Judiciary Committee.  The nomination is coming up for committee vote today, but Republicans have indicated they still will not allow the nomination to get to the floor.  Lindsay Graham was the only Republican to vote for McConnell the first time McConnell came up for a Judiciary Comittee vote…

Update: Sheldon Whitehouse, during the hearings, spoke in favor of McConnell, and made an unbelievable statement (my informal transcript):  “McConnell may not be the most appropriate nominee for Oklahoma, Arizona or Alabama” but Senate always has deferred to judgment of home state Senators.  Whitehouse is treating judicial nominees like political nominees — but this is a lifetime federal judicial nomination.  Shouldn’t there be a single standard, since judicial decisions can have national implications?

Whitehouse also implicitly threatened retribution to future Republican nominees if there were a filibuster of McConnell.  Whitehouse said that “a warning after the fact no longer is a warning.”

Read the entire article at Legal Insurrection.

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