There are plenty of reasons to be outraged by Senator Shelby’s decision to put a blanket hold on all executive branch nominations in an effort to steer more federal dollars to his state. After all, most people would agree that it’s good for the country for the Senate to be able to move forward on key nominations to the Army, Air Force, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.
Senator Shelby, of course, would rather have more pork for his state, but you’d think that even he would be outraged by the principle of refusing an up or down vote on nominations. After all, his own senate website rails against filibusters on judicial nominees.
As a U.S. Senator, I believe that the review of judicial nominations is one of the most important responsibilities of the Senate, and I firmly believe that each of the President’s nominees should be afforded a straight up-or-down vote. I do not think that any of us want to operate in an environment where federal judicial nominees must receive 60 votes in order to be confirmed. To that end I firmly support changing the Senate rules to require that a simple majority be necessary to confirm all judicial nominees, thus ending the continuous filibuster of them.
And that’s how he feels about nominations for lifetime seats on the federal bench. If he’s that committed to guaranteeing up or down votes on nominees who will have their positions for life, then obviously he’d support up or down votes for nominees who serve at the pleasure of the president.
Yet Senator Shelby is still obstructing these nominees to gain political leverage for his own pet projects.
I think there’s a word for that.