Pennsylvania progressives are looking to scuttle an apparent backroom deal on judicial nominations that the state's two senators are negotiating.By the way, all those petitions?
The arrangement would have Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., sign off on Pittsburgh lawyer David J. Porter's nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In exchange, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., would defer to Mr. Casey on at least three of Pennsylvania's other eight judicial vacancies, according to opponents of the deal.
33,000 people signed them.
Why would they? Perhaps here's the reason:
In a post on its website, Keystone Progress characterized Mr. Porter as an extreme conservative who opposes abortion rights, gay marriage and restrictions on gun ownership. It notes that Mr. Porter leads the Lawyers Chapter of the Pittsburgh Federalist Society, that he opposed the 2009 nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, that he wrote a Post-Gazette opinion piece asserting that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and that he is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association.The writer of the P-G piece, Tracie Mauriello, gets another side of the story - the local attorneys who believe Porter's not the ideologue that all those 33,000 petition signers believe him to be. Take a look:
"He's a brilliant lawyer and he's fair-minded," said attorney Tina O. Miller, who has known Mr. Porter for several years. "I have never found David to be overly political. Whether it's as a lawyer advocating for his client or in bar association and community activities, he has always been willing to listen to everyone's viewpoint and give consideration to everyone's viewpoint and to be fair. "Those are exactly the qualities I would want in a judge."That may well be the case. It may well be the case that he's a brilliant lawyer and that whatever his politics, the people of Pennsylvania should set aside them aside and simply judge him by the quality of his legal work.
Mary Austin, a health care attorney in Pittsburgh who considers herself a liberal, said she has never seen ideology influence Mr. Porter's legal work in the decade she has known him.
"I really don't know [his politics]. We've never discussed it," she said. What she does know is, "David is a very good lawyer and has shown very good sense."
Yea, tell that to Debo Adegbile.