Tag Archives: Senate

Senate Confirms Denny Chin To Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Today, the Senate voted 98-0 to confirm President Obama’s nominee, Judge Denny Chin, to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  President Obama nominated Judge Chin in October of 2009.   Unfortunately, as part of the GOP’s overall strategy of blocking any federal government action by the Obama administration, Judge Chin’s nomination had been subject to a GOP filibuster effort.  This effort was ended when Democrats pushed successfully for cloture earlier this month, which you can read more about here.

To illustrate the ridiculousness, dis-ingenuousness, and dangerousness of the GOP’s filibuster policy, once the filibuster was broken by cloture, the Senate voted 98-0 to confirm Judge Chin.  This clearly demonstrates the GOP is simply trying to bring the Obama government to a standstill for whatever sad political gain they think it will give them instead of acting on genuine principles or policies.  All Americans should join together in denouncing the GOP’s actions as nothing more than political trickery, if not closely approaching a violation of the oaths the Senators take when assuming their offices.

Judge Chin will become the only Asian-American judge to sit on a federal Court of Appeals.  He gained notoriety recently as the judge who presided over the Bernie Madoff trial in which he sentenced Madoff to 150 years in prison for the largest-ever Ponzi scheme.

Judge Chin is widely viewed by most moderates and many liberals as an excellent choice by the Obama administration to fill the vacant seat on the Second District from which United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was also chosen.

The Second Circuit is well-known as a federal appeals court which hears many white collar and finance-related crimes and wrongs, so our country certainly needs the best possible judges on this circuit in the wake of such outrageous wrongs as the Madoff scandal and the current allegations against Goldman Sachs.

You can read more about the Chin nomination here and here.

If you agree with me that the GOP’s filibuster tactics are wrong, join my Twitter stream here.  I frequently tweet about this issue as well as other progressive causes.

I also ask anyone who is as concerned about the actions of the GOP on the workings of the federal government, particularly President Obama’s administration, I ask that you join the Facebook cause, “I Support My President,” here.

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Hypocrisy Alert! Senator Coburn Calls For Prayer; Hatch & Co. Say Health Care Bill Unconstitutional

With all the rancor swirling around Capitol Hill over the health care bill (or fiasco, if you prefer), it is not surprising that our elected representatives are saying and writing the most peculiar things.  Two Senators’ words, however, are just so hypocritical and, frankly, ridiculous that they deserve special attention as being CIVIL WRONGS:

The first of these Senators is Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.  On December 21, 2009, during floor debate in the Senate over the health care bill, Senator Coburn stated that Americans should pray that some of the Senators not be able to make the vote (referring to those Senators expected to vote for the health care bill).  Coburn did not specify what he meant, but at least one implication was that the other Senators suffer some mishap or setback.

This comment by Coburn drew the ire of Senator Durbin of Illinois, who called on Coburn to return to the Senate floor and explain his comments which Durbin stated “troubles me.”  Coburn did not respond.  I have downloaded a copy of the video exchange on the Senate floor for you in the Box.

Sen. Coburn is quite the loving, God-fearing soul.  Before he became a Senator, Dr. Coburn was a medical doctor in Oklahoma.  Approximately 13 years ago, a patient accused him of sterilizing her without her consent.  During Coburn’s hotly contested race for the Senate, the young woman, by that time 34, came forward to stand by her charges against Coburn.  You can link to an article discussing the medical malpractice case against Coburn here.  The article was written in the Washington Post, not exactly a bastion of the liberal media.

The other Senator worthy of mention is Orrin G. Hatch of Idaho.  Recently, in an op-ed piece he wrote to the Wall Street Journal, Hatch laid out his position as to why the health care bill is unconstitutional.  You can link to the op-ed piece here.

I have to admit that I can see the merit in some of Hatch’s arguments.  I am pissed off that the so-called “public option” is lost, that Joe Lieberman was allowed to play the self-appointed role of “super Senator,” and that Senator Nelson was bought off in a “cash for cloture” deal leaving the Feds obligated to pay Nebraska’s share of the Medicaid expansion into perpetuity.

Indeed, there are serious constitutional questions raised by the Nelson deal, which some states appear poised to pursue.  You can link to an article discussing the “cash for cloture” deal and its constitutional issue here.  Nelson’s vote was treated as being so important that he was referred to in a recent article as one of the four new “kings of the Hill” by CNN.  You can link to that article here.

I am also pissed off that President Obama appears poised to sign this garbage legislation instead of calling the bill (and the process that gave birth to it) exactly what it is – a dirty, money-infested joke!  My dream headline for 2010:  “Obama Vetoes Health Care Bill; Tells Senate To Pull Head Out Of Its [   ] And Get Back To Work!”

That being said, I simply cannot believe there is any real, genuine concern over constitutionality when the argument is offered by a Senator who voted for the P.A.T.R.I.O.T act with no concern about constitutionality.  Moreover, Hatch has little room to act “holier than thou” in the health care debate when he is so favored by big pharmaceutical companies.  In the early 1990s, Hatch created a foundation which has recently received about $172,000 in donations from 5 big pharmaceutical companies and an industry trade group known as Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.  By pure coincidence, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers also employs Hatch’s son, Scott Hatch.  You can link to an article discussing these facts here.

As a matter of fact, the pharmaceutical industry is Senator Hatch’s biggest contributor, donating more than $1.25 million to his campaigns since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

I agree with Mitchell Baird’s December 28, 2009 article in The Huffington Post, entitled:  “The Republicans’ Disdain For The American People Should Be The Story Of 2009.”  Baird points out that the Republicans in Congress care less about the American people than they do with scoring petty political victories, and it seems to me that both Coburn and Hatch exemplify that.

In Hatch’s case, another question came to my mind as I read his op-ed piece – Why now, Senator?  The health care bill has been through committee, conferences, and all manner of back-room shenanigans without any mention (to my knowledge) of any looming constitutional dilemma.  Granted, the Ben Nelson deal came up rather late in the day, but the gist of the health care bill – i.e., that the Feds would require individuals to purchase insurance – was known early on.

Why only after the bill passes do you make these important issues  known to the American people?  Is it the Constitution you are concerned about, or are you more concerned about scoring points with your political base and damaging Obama?  What solutions for the disastrous health care system have you produced other than the same failed policies of the Bush years?

It is also worth noting that Hatch’s co-author, Ken Blackwell, is best known as the Secretary of State in Ohio during the 2004 election.  At the same time as he was Ohio’s chief elections official, Blackwell was honorary co-chair of the “Committee to re-elect George W. Bush.”  Allegations of conflict of interest and voter disenfranchisement led to the filing of at least sixteen related lawsuits naming Blackwell.  Blackwell was again named as a defendant in a 2006 lawsuit related to his office’s public disclosure of the Social Security numbers of Ohio residents.  Far from being Mr. Constitution, Blackwell is an outspoken, staunch conservative who, for example, believes that abortion should be permitted only where necessary to save the life of the mother.  Blackwell’s understanding of the Constitution is about as tenuous as it gets.

You can link to a Wikipedia article discussing Mr. Blackwell here.

Lastly, Hatch’s other co-author, Kenneth Klukowski writes articles for a website, Human Events, calling itself the conservative underground.  Here is a sample of Mr. Klukowski’s one-sided writings from that website.

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