Campaigns/Elections

And what about the bar mitzvah she attended? How can she be impartial in cases involving Jews?

|

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) says he will stop blocking a vote on judicial nominee Janet Neff, but he still has questions for the Michigan judge about a lesbian commitment ceremony she attended in 2002. The ceremony, which was held in Massachusetts, involved the daughter of Neff's longtime neighbors, a woman she views as a member of the family. But Brownback isn't satisfied by that explanation. "I would like her to come back through committee so she can testify what took place, factually," he says. He wants to hear more about "her legal views on same-sex marriage and her ability and willingness to be impartial."

If Neff owned a gun, would Brownback question her impartiality in cases involving the Second Amendment? If she went to church, would he wonder whether she could fairly address Establishment Clause controversies? If she liked to read newspapers, would he ask for reassurance that she could be objective in the trial of a reporter charged with illegally revealing classified information? If she smoked pot in college, would he ask whether she can be trusted to preside over drug cases?

Neff already has made the pro forma declaration that she will be guided by the law, not her personal views, so what else does Brownback want? An assurance that she will decide cases involving same-sex marriage the way he would? So far Brownback has not asked for that in so many words, but at one point he did offer to lift his block on Neff's nomination if she would promise to recuse herself from all such cases. According to The New York Times, the Judiciary Committee member "said he did not realize his proposal—asking a nominee to agree in advance to remove herself from deciding a whole category of cases—was so unusual as to be possibly unprecedented. Legal scholars said it raised constitutional questions of separation of powers for a senator to demand that a judge commit to behavior on the bench in exchange for a vote." Legal scholars such as Reagan administration Solicitor General Charles Fried, who had this to say:

First of all, people go to parties for all sorts of reasons….It would be inappropriate for the judge to recuse herself from any such case because it is a judge's duty to sit on cases [unless he has a clear conflict of interest]. For her to agree to any such restriction in this case would be wrong.

Sam Brownback for President: So Right, He's Wrong.  

NEXT: Baby Boom Caused by Tax Code

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is a good post, but lately so many posts here defy comment.

  2. Jesus, I agree with Highnumber. How about something controversial that we can argue about? Something on the cultish libertarian veiw of anti-discrimination laws maybe? Why keep serving up this outrage pap?

  3. Dear Senator Brownback,

    In the Summer of 2003, I went to this lesbian commitment ceremony in Massachussets. The bride was this tall blonde with a giant rack. The other bride was this cute, shorthaired brunette with an incredible ass. Well, needless to say I was ready to do the chicken dance, if you know what I mean…

  4. I believe Sen. Brownback supported the father of a Lesbian for Vice-President. I guess the Senator can no longer be onsidered “impartial” on matters involving relatives of Gay people.

  5. I trust that those getting outraged about Brownback’s actions here were all similarly outraged when Senate Democrats put a hold on the nomination of William Pryor to the federal bench because of his decision to reschedule his family’s vacation to avoid Disney World’s “Gay Days.”

  6. Seamus,

    I would have been had I ever known. And seriously, Disney World held “gay days”?

  7. We are seeing a lot of open calls by republicans for the legal manhandling of other reps who are tolerant of gays, muslims, whatever.
    This is good. At least true colors are being shown. The air of politeness that hangs over Washington is stifling. I’m hoping by 08 we’ll have wide open insult sessions the way the British Parliament does. In any case, the fact that the number of “tolerant of X = unfit for office” comments in increasing. May be this will spur the Dems, or (god forbid) the LP into doing something effective.

  8. brownback: What you get after santorum is smeared all over your rear.

  9. Crazy Jesus people seem to be popping up all over today’s topics, either in them or in the comments. Please get “raptured” already and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

    And Seamus–that was NOT the substanitve basis for opposing Pryor. There was a LOT more in play–I don’t know what talk radio show you get your info from. Here, there is nothing else.

  10. And Seamus–that was NOT the substanitve basis for opposing Pryor.

    Gee, then why did the Democrats even bring the issue up in the confirmation hearings? And why did this anti-Pryor website choose it as the focus of its article:
    http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/usnews093.htm

  11. Brownback scares the crap out of me.

    I went to the CPAC convention last year. Where he spoke. Good thing I read up on him before hand. This guy wants the FCC to start regulating Cable and Satellite stations. Like HBO, Skin-a-Max etc…

    And what’s the first thing that comes out of this moron’s mouth?? “I’m a Reagan Conservative”. My mouth about dropped. Big Government moron.

    I know some of you don’t look at Reagan in a favorable light, but this guy is the Anti-Conservative.

  12. Something on the cultish libertarian veiw of anti-discrimination laws maybe?

    Eh?

    – R

  13. Sen. Brownback, I am speaking with you and yet I would still be able to hear cases dealing with the mentally challenged.

  14. Seamus | December 20, 2006, 5:51pm | #
    Gee, then why did the Democrats even bring the issue up in the confirmation hearings? And why did this anti-Pryor website choose it as the focus of its article:
    http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/usnews093.htm

    Firstly, that is not an “anti-Pryor” website, it is an “anti-sodomy laws” website. The article you’ve linked to also lays out that not only did Pryor voice his condemnation of personal choice in his private life but actively worked against them in his professional life. From the article:

    As Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor linked the state attorney general’s website to anti-GLBT groups, including the Family Research Council and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which regularly litigates cases against GLBT rights.

    Although most states with sodomy statutes on their books did not file briefs in defense of their laws, Pryor filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case challenging Texas’s sodomy law. Pryor’s brief likens homosexuality to incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution and adultery. He also argues in the brief that sodomy is a chosen behavior unworthy of constitutional protection.

    It is one thing to change your families plans based on your personal feelings (either to not attend gay-days or to attend a gay wedding). It is another when you use your appointed administrative powers to actively rally against rights for other people.

  15. God forbid the folks who make, enforce and interpret our laws should start hanging out with – gasp – HOMOSEXUALS.

    They might start to think the homos are human or something…

  16. And seriously, Disney World held “gay days”

    Yup. Disneyland too. Although I’m not sure if they are “official days” held by the park, or just a pre-arranged day where a bunch of gays show up.

    I’ve never been to one, but I’ve heard that they’re a little crazy. Then again, I’ve only really heard conservative types bitching about it, so I suspect it’s really pretty tame. To hear Limbaugh talk about it you’d think that Mickey goes down on Goffy during the parade or something. Yeesh.

  17. I hear several Supreme Court justices have been seen attending services in churches. Obviously, they should recuse themselves from any church/state issue cases.

    (BTW, Disney doesn’t sponsor or arrange Gay Days, they are promoted by an outside organization and Disney isn’t about to turn down any large group of people’s money when they show up.)

  18. A few years ago, Pat Robertson declared that a hurricaine that was heading towards Disney World was God’s punishment for their endorsement of “Gay Day.”

    The storm then turned, made landfall in Virginia, and hit Robertson’s HQ instead. No kidding.

  19. postmodern, hilarious…you should let Savage know that one.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.