Judiciary Republicans Boycott Hearing on Obama Court Pick

Posted April 1, 2009 at 5:26pm

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans on Wednesday boycotted a confirmation hearing for a federal appeals court judge over concerns that the panel is moving “at an unreasonable pace— on President Barack Obama’s nominations.

“On process, I think the record is conclusive that we haven’t been given a reasonable amount of time,— Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said in a statement.

The walkout came at the behest of Specter, who has been complaining about the pace with which Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been vetting Obama’s judiciary nominees. David Hamilton, an Indiana district court judge, has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Specter penned a letter to Leahy, voicing his “concern over the expedited schedule for consideration of several executive nominations,— and requested that Hamilton’s hearing be postponed until after the upcoming Easter recess.

In his statement, Specter railed on the process of considering Hamilton — the first judicial nominee to appear before the committee — and called for additional time.

“Judge Hamilton has been a district judge for roughly 15 years, and, according to his calculation, has authored roughly 1,150 opinions — over 9,500 pages,— Specter said. “He has submitted approximately 2,000 pages of speeches, articles, and policy papers. On the procedural aspect there has been just totally insufficient time to review these matters.—

Specter’s walkout Wednesday comes as Republicans are considering a filibuster of Office of Legal Counsel nominee Dawn Johnsen. Despite their objections to Johnsen’s stances on abortion and the war on terror, it remains unclear whether GOP Members will use procedural tactics to try to derail the nominee.