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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Seate to Vote on Controversial nominee for District Judge.

Update 9:50 PM CDT The Washington Post is reporting that Senior Republicans conceded Wednesday that a deal is unlikely on a plan to overhaul Medicare and offered to open budget talks by focusing on areas where both parties can agree, such as cutting farm subsidies. On the eve of debt-reduction talks, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is vital, but recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus.

Update 6:00PM CDT: The Republicans could did not sustain a filibuster against John “Jack” McConnell, Jr., to be a federal district judge. The Senate voted 63-33 to allow the nominee to proceed to a vote. Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to advance the nomination. The Senate then confirmed the John McConnell with a final vote of 50-44, one of the lowest for confirming a judge.
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 4, 2011:
At noon, the Senate will vote on cloture on S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.  If cloture is not invoked, the Senate will then vote on cloture on the controversial nomination of trial lawyer Jack McConnell to be a U.S. district court judge in Rhode Island.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 97-0 to pass S. Res. 159, a resolution honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

Early this afternoon the Senate is set to vote on cloture on the nomination of John “Jack” McConnell, Jr., a Democrat trial lawyer from Rhode Island, to be a federal district judge.

Writing in The Washington Times today, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a member of the Judiciary Committee, explains, “Nominated to the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, Mr. McConnell throughout his career has tended toward perverting the rule of law, rather than upholding it. A close look at Mr. McConnell’s 25-year legal career reveals a record surrounded by an ethical cloud. Nothing characterizes this better than when Mr. McConnell came before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was asked about his familiarity with a set of stolen legal documents his law firm obtained during litigation against lead-paint manufacturers. Responding to questioning, Mr. McConnell indicated to the committee that he saw the documents ‘briefly’ but was not familiar with them ‘in any fashion.’ Yet only a few months later, Mr. McConnell testified in a deposition that he was the first lawyer to receive the documents in question, had drafted a newspaper editorial citing information from the documents, and reviewed and filed a legal brief under his signature incorporating the stolen documents.”

In addition, as Robert Bluey points out at RedState today, “Obama’s selection of McConnell was met with widespread disappointment. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for the first time in its 99-year history, announced its opposition to a district court nominee. The American Bar Association — the ‘gold standard’ for liberals — gave McConnell a mediocre rating. And the pro-life Family Research Council isn’t thrilled with his past leadership of Planned Parenthood in Rhode Island.”

The Chamber summarized its objection to Jack McConnell’s nomination in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, writing, “Mr. McConnell’s actions during his career as a personal injury lawyer and past statements demonstrate his disregard for the rule of law, an activist judicial philosophy and obvious bias against businesses.”

Indeed, Jack McConnell told The Columbus Dispatch in 2006, “The only time [‘companies will do the right thing’] is when they’re sued and forced to by a jury.”

“But,” Robert Bluey writes, “these issues alone aren’t the only strikes against McConnell. His nomination is viewed as a reward for years of political donations to Democrats from him and his wife — an amount that approaches $700,000, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) [ranking member of the Judiciary Committee]. ‘I would not argue that partisan political activity is disqualifying on its own,’ Grassley said at McConnell’s hearing. ‘My concern is that Mr. McConnell is so steeped in political activity and ideology that it will be impossible for him to be an impartial jurist — even if he earnestly believes that he can.’ Just in 2008 alone, McConnell and his wife gave more than $160,000 in political donations. By comparison, the Providence Journal reported, 68 other Obama judicial nominees averaged $3,371 in donations to political candidates over nearly 20 years.”

As Sen. Cornyn said speaking about the nomination on the floor yesterday, “I’m convinced that [my colleagues] would have trouble looking [their] constituents in the eye and telling them that you believe that Mr. McConnell would be fair to all litigants in his courtroom, and in this case especially businesses who may be sued for money damages as he did throughout his legal career. In fact, Mr. McConnell, during the Judiciary Committee deliberations, described his legal philosophy as saying -- quote – ‘there are wrongs that need to be righted, and that’s how I see the law.’ . . .  I believe a vote to allow Mr. McConnell’s nomination is a vote to create yet another court where trial lawyers to repeatedly prevail in frivolous litigation against American businesses and that is something we ought not to allow. . . . I would hope a president would never appoint someone like Jack McConnell, but apparently everyone makes mistakes, including this nomination by this President.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, judicial confirmation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:09 PM - Post Link


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