Prosecute the torture.

May 21, 2005

Loyal Puppy that he is, Santorum Speaks

Let's start with Senator Santorum's most recent offering and work backwards. In the May 18 edition of the Post-Gazette, Rick Santorum attempted to set the record straight (I love it when homophobes use that metaphor, don't you?) We shall see that he's not completely straight with the truth himself.

The Senator begins:
A May 11 column used erroneous information from a liberal Web site, http://www.rawstory.com/, rather than conducting a simple fact check to determine my voting record on judicial nominations ("Political Animals Sniff the Winds of Change"). Though a correction has been made, the record must be completely set straight.
He never mentions who wrote the May 11 article, does he? For the record, it was Sally Kalson. He does mention that "a correction has been made" but he doesn't say what the correction is for. Is the correction for the entire Kalson column or just something in the Kalson column? I'd imagine Senator Santorum is hoping we would assume it was one or the other.

However, the correction is for this article by Maeve Reston. On May 2, Reston, among other things, wrote that:
Santorum said he objected to the nomination of John H. Bingler Jr. to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania because he did not believe Bingler was qualified for the post.
This is what needed to be corrected. By the way, it sparked on May 8, an angry letter to the editor of its own. From former US District Court Judge Donald Ziegler. Judge Ziegler wrote:
The statement of Sen. Rick Santorum that John H. Bingler Jr. was not qualified to serve as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania cannot go unchallenged ("Democrats Say Santorum Blocked Judges, Too," May 2). Mr. Bingler was one of the ablest and most competent trial lawyers to ever appear in the District Court, and he was respected by the bench and bar. He also served as president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, was a member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers and was rated exceptionally well qualified in all ratings by the bar association.
But more from the judge later. Here is the correction (although the P-G calls it "a clarification") from May 14:
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said this week he opposed former President Bill Clinton's nomination of John H. Bingler Jr. for a federal judgeship in Western Pennsylvania because Bingler had not been on a short list of recommended candidates drawn up by an advisory committee that he and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., had appointed. Santorum clarified that when he said he found Bingler "unqualified" for the position for a story published May 2, 2005 he meant only that the committee had not put forward Bingler's name. "I've never sat down and met with John Bingler. I never looked at his resume," Santorum said. "If I say [nominees] weren't qualified, I'm basically saying they weren't qualified by the commission." Bingler was first nominated in 1995 and received the American Bar Association highest rating of "well-qualified."
So I guess what he's saying is that it was the committee that he and Senator Arlen Specter appointed that found Bingler "unqualified." No reason was given as to why he wasn't on the short list (was he on any "long" lists? was he on any lists at all?).

But take a look again at the dates: Santorum's initial remark about Bingler being unqualified is dated May 2. The letter from Judge Ziegler is dated May 8. Sally Kalson's column appeared on May 11 and the correction (clarification??) from May 14. Finally Senator Santorum's letter appears on May 18th.

It also should be noted that the correction involves only one of the three people mentioned in Reston's May 2 article. The other two are Lynette Norton and Robert Freedberg. Indeed, our friend Judge Zeigler had this to say about Lynette Norton:
The same can be said of Lynette Norton. Ms. Norton was an expert in insurance law, an author of textbooks on the subject, a mediator, lecturer and member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers. She practiced for years in federal court and was relied on by the court for many complex and difficult assignments. She too received exceptionally well qualified ratings by the bar association.
While the correction published by the P-G is silent on Norton and Freedberg, Reston wrote something that neither Santorum or the P-G has corrected:
Santorum said he held up the confirmation of Lynette Norton, who also was nominated for a seat on that court, because Clinton White House officials did not follow through on their standing agreement with him and Specter that for every three Democrats, the senators would get to choose a Republican.
Interesting. So this "exeptionally well qualified" nomination was stopped because she wasn't a Republican. Interesting. And with all the current discussion about how it's the President who makes the nominations and the Senate is limited to giving only "Advice and Consent" what should we think about this "standing agreement" that Santorum and Specter had with the Clinton Administration?

But beyond all this. Take a look again at Santorum's letter. He doesn't mention Bingler, Norton or Freedberg, does he? After the expected bluster/Republican talking points about the Senate Filibuster, he "clarifies" the situation about two other nominees Kalson said he blocked. Kalson wrote:
In addition, he voted to filibuster two Clinton executive nominees, David Satcher and Henry Foster (twice); voted to block another judicial nominee, Richard Paez; and then, after the GOP filibuster was broken, voted to indefinitely postpone a vote on Paez.
So let's see what Santorum offers as a clarification. He wrote:
I was opposed to Richard Paez, who had a record as a judge that I believed was deplorable. However, despite my opposition, I did not "block" him as a nominee. I voted in favor of ending debate on the nomination of Paez, and in favor of the motion to postpone the Paez nomination. In the end I voted against Paez's nomination, although he was confirmed by a vote of 59-39.
But what he doesn't say is that Richard Paez was waiting for a vote for years. And (and this is the biggest deception of all here) while Senator Santorum wrote that he voted in favor of the motion to postpone the nomination what he doesn't respond to was something Kalson wrote - that it was a vote to postpone the vote indefinitely. Go back and check the roll. It says:
Question: On the Motion to Postpone (To indefinitely postpone the nomination of Richard A. Paez) [emphasis added]
Question: how is that not an attempt to "block" the nomination? Richard Paez was nominated in 1996 and in March of 2000, Rick Santorum voted in favor of postponing the vote forever.

Senator Santorum wrote this in his letter:
All Republicans are asking of Democrats now is to let us vote. If a senator opposes a nominee, that senator should vote no when the nominee comes to a vote.
But when it came to Richard Paez, he voted to postpone the vote indefinitely, rather than have it, didn't he?

A brief history on the Paez nomination. Now remember, the current argument is that all Presidential nominees should get an up or down vote. Here's what they did to Richard Paez. YOu can find all this out by going to this site and typing the word "paez" in the search box.

His nomination was initially recieved by the Judiciary Committee on January 25, 1996 with hearings held on July 31 of that year. On the following October 4, the nomination was returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rules XXXI, paragraph 6 (and we'll get to that rule in a little bit).

The nomination was then resubmitted the following January 27, only to be sent back to the President for the same reason (Rule XXXI, paragraph 6) on October 21, 1998.

What is Rule XXXI, paragraph 6? Here it is:
Nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session at which they are made shall not be acted upon at any succeeding session without being again made to the Senate by the President; and if the Senate shall adjourn or take a recess for more than thirty days, all nominations pending and not finally acted upon at the time of taking such adjournment or recess shall be returned by the Secretary to the President, and shall not again be considered unless they shall again be made to the Senate by the President.
The important text is put in bold letters. Turns out that in 1997, the Senate ended its business on October 3, and went home for a recess. In 1998 business ended on October 21. So the Judiciary, by using Senate Rule XXXI halted the nomination of Richard Paez not once, but twice, before it made it to the Senate floor.

After a re-renomination, Paez finally made it out of committee on July 29, 1999. However his nomination had to wait until March 2000 for a debate and a vote in the Senate. That's when Rick "I Didn't 'Block' The Nomination" Santorum voted to postpone the nomination.

But the deception is even deeper. Take a close-closer-closest look at what Santorum wrote:
However, despite my opposition, I did not "block" him as a nominee.
It looks like he was saying, "Yes, I opposed the nomination, but I didn't do anything to "block" the nomination." But he said nothing of the sort. If the Senator were 100% honest, he would have written:
I tried, but failed, to use the rules of the Senate to stop this nomination.
See the difference? But we'd only hear that from the pious lips of Rick Santorum, if he were 100% honest.

1 comment:

Ol' Froth said...

He's a fucking coward.