Then the last screw turned for Robert Bacharach. In today's Oklahoman, Chris Casteel reports that senate democrats were unable to break the republican filibuster that was blocking Bacharach's nomination to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sixty votes were needed to bring the nomination to the floor. At that point a simple majority would have landed Bacharach a seat on the court. The democrats managed only 56. Two independents voted with them as did three republicans.
Two who didn't were Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. Both senators were on record as "strongly" supporting the nomination. Coburn had been quoted as saying that the politics being played with the nomination was, "stupid." Inhofe reportedly is on record as saying such shenanigans are unconstitutional. Obviously, neither man let stupidity or something as inconvenient as the constitution stop them from leaving Bacharach twisting in the wind. One can only hope their support of Mitt Romney will be equally as effective and decisive.
During the vote both senators played the coward's hand. They voted present rather than either yea, or nay. Now they can run around saying they didn't vote no to everyone who knows Bacharach is eminently qualified for the seat and they can look republican leaders in the eye and tell them truthfully they didn't vote against the party.
Afterward, in a fit of hypocrisy not usually seen outside of the boardrooms of evangelical churches, Coburn praised Bacharach as, "the best appellate court nominee he'd seen in his eight years in the senate." He went on to say that the nominee was a "pawn" in a political game.
You think, Tom?
Coburn claims he will push for Bacharach's nomination even if Mitt Romney becomes president. I'm sure that promise will be of great solace to the honorable Mr. Bacharach and Coburn's commitment to it will rank right up there with the many promises made to say, the Sioux Nation back in the 1800's.
Inhofe said he didn't want to vote against Bacharach, but didn't want to break with a custom that has been used by both parties for years. Unfortunately, as Vermont senator Patrick Leahy has pointed out, the democrats have allowed an up and down vote on judicial nominees during presidential election years for the last two decades. Of course Inhofe has never been one for such details. In remarks on the senate floor he is reported to have called the situation "awkward." Yes, senator, betrayal usually is, especially when you have to try to explain it.
So there you have it. The seat on the 10th Circuit Court has been open for two years. As a federal magistrate Robert Bacharach has heard more than 3000 cases both civil and criminal. He has the highest possible rating by the American Bar Association. None of that matters to republicans in the senate who, despite their oft heard complaints about activist judges, have now proved they'll turn down the right man so they might be able to get some conservative toady on the bench at a future date.
The whole shameful spectacle makes you wonder if Coburn and Inhofe made a great show of publicly washing their hands afterward.
How long, Oh Lord? How long?