As was expected, Senate Republicans expressed their displeasure with Judge Helene White’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-PA) said that the timing of her hearing “does not conform with the practices of the committee and is an unusual rush to judgment.”
In a statement released today, Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron observed “Judge Helene White, one of President Bush's two pending nominees to the Sixth Circuit, was nominated to the same court by President Clinton in 1997. For four years, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to hold a hearing on Judge White's nomination, and she continues to hold the record for the longest pending federal judicial nomination in U.S. history. Complaints by Senate Republicans that her nomination has been fast-tracked eclipse even a grand sense of irony, especially given their incessant footstamping at the slow pace of nominations in recent months.”
"Senate Republicans’ sudden commitment to vigorously examining Judge White's qualifications strikes an impressive contrast to their past role as a rubberstamp for the president's picks, illustrated even today by their lackluster questioning of the other circuit nominee, Raymond Kethledge.”
As Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, even the White House describes Judge White as “an experienced and highly qualified judge, who is known for her intellect, work ethic and demeanor.” It seems clear that Republicans’ opposition to her nomination have more to do with her lack of conservative bona fides than the speed with which she received a hearing.