Sessions Vows to Filibuster Obama Circuit Court Nominee

Posted November 16, 2009 at 2:49pm

Senate Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Monday that he will filibuster the nomination of David Hamilton to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I think I will support not going forward,— Sessions told reporters, criticizing Hamilton’s record as a district court judge in southern Indiana.

Sessions said Hamilton’s past rulings on abortion rights and prayer present “extraordinary— circumstances for a Senate filibuster, although he predicted the nomination will still be approved by the Senate this week. Senators are scheduled to vote on a procedural motion Tuesday to begin considering Hamilton’s nomination. The Judiciary Committee approved the pick along party lines in June.

Sessions also dismissed claims that Republicans are stalling action on judicial nominees or trying to run the clock on floor time to stem action on health care reform. In the case of Dawn Johnsen, President Barack Obama’s controversial choice to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, Sessions noted that bipartisan opposition has kept Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from pushing her confirmation.

“They complain about that one. Why don’t they file cloture? They probably don’t have the votes,— Sessions said.

Hamilton will be the second circuit court nominee that Sessions has opposed on the floor this year. Last week, he voted against installing Andre Davis to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, Sessions voted in favor of Gerard Lynch’s nomination to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September.

“If they have a record that shows their discourse, I think they can move forward pretty well,— Sessions said. But, he added, “I don’t think I can vote for a nominee that I believe thinks has the right to amend the Constitution.—