A Washington Post editorial today echoes our previous post about Republican Senator Sam Brownback’s (KS) recent threats to block a judicial nomination pending before the full Senate. Brownback has suggested that Judge Janet T. Neff, a nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, is a “judicial activist” simply because she attended (and did not preside over) a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple in Massachusetts. As the Post editorial points out, though, even if Judge Neff did preside over the ceremony, “that would say nothing about her jurisprudential views.” A commitment ceremony “has no legal force whatsoever but is a private expression of the love and devotion of two people.” As the article emphasizes, “keeping Judge Neff off the federal bench over such a matter is perilously close to declaring her unfit to serve because she has lesbian friends.” The article urges the senator to “back off.” We couldn't agree more.
Though we do have one minor quibble. To bolster its position, the Post notes it has also "criticized Democrats for obstructing qualified judicial nominees." Yes it has. But there's an all-important distinction that the Post, in its effort to appear even-handed, overlooks: Democrats have opposed certain nominees for a legitimate reason -- the nominees' "jurisprudential views" -- not, like Senator Brownback, because of the friends they keep.