Wednesday, June 10, 2009

McConnell way off on Sotomayor timeline

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was a little upset that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) scheduled the confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor to begin on July 13. McConnell wants to do it in September.

Fair enough, he wants more time to dig for dirt and/or drag it out in order to clog up the calendar and slow down other Democratic agenda items, especially health care overhaul. I don't blame him for wanting to do that, as the minority leader he's expected to try and do things like that. Harry Reid would want the same thing if their shoes were reversed.

But McConnell, never satisfied with just making his case, told a bit of a nose-puller. He said that Sotomayor's proposed nomination timeline would be the shortest in recent memory.

Yes, that's what he said.

They want the shortest confirmation timeline in recent memory for someone with the longest record in recent memory,

Recall that Sotomayor was nominated on May 25. So if her nomination were processed through the committee and voted on all on the same day, July 13, her timeline would be 49 days. But in fact the hearing, committee vote, and then floor debate and vote by the full Senate will take a couple of weeks beyond that, so figure her timeline will actually be about 60 days. However, whether you figure 49 days or about 60 days, if you read further down in the link we find that it would be very typical of what these things seem to take:

• Samuel Alito: 70 days

• John Roberts: Seven days after announced as chief justice replacement; 55 days after initial nomination

• Stephen Breyer: 60 days

• Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 36 days

• Clarence Thomas: 71 days

• David Souter: 52 days

• Anthony Kennedy: 33 days

• Robert Bork: 76 days

• Antonin Scalia: 49 days

• William Rehnquist: 42 days

• Sandra Day O'Connor: 64 days

• John Paul Stevens: 10 days

• Rehnquist (nominated by former President Nixon to replace Associate Justice John Harlan): 13 days

What would be unusually long would be if the Senate did wait until after the August recess and begin the hearing when they return after Labor Day, probably the next day, September 8. If that were the date the hearing began, the timeline would be a minimum of 106 days and more likely close to 120.

Well, if the facts are not on your side, apparently Mitch McConnell thinks the way to fix that problem is to make up some new facts.


sandyh said...

The current conservative Republicans have never let facts stand in their way as they stand in the way of any real progress.

What they think they can gain by dragging their feet now is beyond me. The American people expect action on the the problems that have been neglected for so long. If they don't get it, they are going to come after those "who don't get it".

We have to work double hard this next midterm campaign to get people to vote out as many of these obstructionists and procrastinators as possible. I want this coming election to be an even clearer sign to the powers-that-be that the American electorate want real change.

I'm willing to give my all to make sure it happen. I've invested a lot in this cause. I've substituted a lot of my other volunteer work in leu of political action during the last four/five years.

I'm dedicated to wiping out the source of this obstructionism with as much grass roots medicine as I can. If the Republicans succeed in killing or maining health care reform, they will be giving us the fly swatter we need to put them out of business for good.

I'm banking on the Chamber of Commerce, AMA, and the rest of the health care industrial complex showing their hand long before the debate even starts. They're going to so obviously stack the deck against Obama that it will infuriate his base...and the Reagan Republicans who have had and seen enough.

You can always count on the conservatives to overplay their hand. Fasten your seat belts, folks. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Eli Blake said...

Their hope in dragging their feet is that they actually don't believe in what Obama wants to do-- pretty much not in any of it-- so they are dragging their feet in the hope that eventually things will get so bogged down that it will get closer to election season and they can eventually stall and run out the clock.

Of course while those kinds of tactics are nothing new, I've never seen a team that's behind trying to run out the clock in the first quarter before.