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Friday, October 6, 2006

Talk About Casting Aspersions

According to the Associated Press, Republican Senator Sam Brownback today declared his plans to hold up the confirmation of federal judicial nominee Janet T. Neff because she reportedly “helped lead a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple” four years ago in Massachusetts. Judge Neff currently sits on the Michigan Court of Appeals, and her nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan is pending before the full Senate.

Brownback admits, “I don’t know what she did.” But his ignorance of the facts hasn’t stopped him from making accusations. The senator declared that he wants to question Judge Neff about whether she “presided over an illegal marriage ceremony.” Michigan Senator Carl Levin ridiculed the whole idea, pointing out the obvious: commitment ceremonies are merely symbolic and hardly illegal.

Senator Brownback is defending his actions by saying, “It seems to speak about her view of judicial activism.” Huh? Presiding over a symbolic, ceremonial expression of commitment between two people in a state where you wield no judicial authority involves judicial activism? Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese aptly called the accusations “nothing more than Sam Brownback looking for another opportunity to rear his bigoted head and find a way to attack gay people."

Anyone want to take bets on whether the right-wing is going to call for the nuclear option – or even just label Brownback an “obstructionist” – over this one? Didn’t think so.

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