Ground Control to Sam Brownback

The Mother Jones blog points out the hypocrisy of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback for stonewalling over the nomination of Judge Janet Neff. Bownback, best friend and ideological twin of our Congressman Frank Wolf, is a member of the clan that wanted to pull the “nuclear option” for Judicial nominees championed by the far right. So what’s the problem with Judge Janet Neff? She has a friend who has a lesbian daughter, and Neff attended the daughter’s commitment ceremony. Horror!

After being lectured by George Will over civil behavior at social events, we thought we could rest assured that attendance in some circumstances is mandatory. Being a judge and all, Judge Neff probably knows when to question a mother’s intuition, and when to go along to get along. It’s not clear whether Neff’s decision was driven by manners or morality (morality, we hope), but that’s not good enough for Brownback. He wants a litmus test, the test he has avoided for nominees who agree with his ideology:

…he has supported appointees who had been outspoken opponents of abortion and same-sex marriage but claimed they would rule based on their legal expertise, rather than their personal opinions.

Cameron Scott, the Mother Jones blogger, really takes Brownback to task:

Compare Brownback’s single-handed delay of the Senate’s confirmation process to the suits filed by Gov. Mitt Romney and Vote on Marriage claiming that the Massachusetts legislature violated their right to due process by tabling an anti-gay marriage amendment. It doesn’t take long to see that their homophobia is making a perverse mockery of democracy.

But the treatment doesn’t seem harsh enough. The Washington Post reports that Brownback demanded assurance that Neff will recuse herself from marriage equality cases. Other members of the judiciary committee reminded Brownback that ‘you can’t do that.’ (Separation of branches, remember? Anyone? Brownback’s reply: “That’s the only option I had.”)

As disconcerting as Brownback’s misunderstanding of (or willingness to ignore) the Constitution is, one wonders why he hasn’t attended a committment ceremony himself. He must not live in the real world.

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