The U.S. Senate confirmed John Brennan yesterday as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. A cloture motion on Brennan’s nomination passed by 81 votes to 16. Senator Tom Harkin voted yes, as did all the Senate Democrats and most Republicans. Senator Chuck Grassley was one of the 16 Republicans who attempted to block Brennan’s nomination from coming to a vote. Senators then confirmed Brennan by 63 votes to 34. Again, Harkin voted yes, like all but two members of the Senate Democratic caucus. Grassley voted no, as did most of the Senate Republicans. I am disappointed but not surprised that most of the Senate Democrats went along with one of President Barack Obama’s worst cabinet appointments. If a Republican president had nominated someone with Brennan’s record on civil liberties, Democratic senators would have raised more serious questions.
I will update this post if I see any public comments from Harkin or Grassley on the Brennan confirmation vote.
Earlier this week, Grassley and 40 other Republicans successfully filibustered the nomination of Caitlin Joan Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Senate Republicans previously filibustered her nomination in 2011; President Barack Obama renominated her for the same position. Halligan is highly qualified, having argued many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, but the National Rifle Association has lobbied Senate Republicans to oppose her. Grassley has not released any comment explaining his vote against cloture (ending debate) on Halligan’s nomination. After the jump I’ve posted a statement from the Iowa Fair Courts Coalition.
MARCH 22 UPDATE: President Obama withdrew Halligan’s nomination, saying she had requested that action. In a written statement, the president commented, “This unjustified filibuster obstructed the majority of Senators from expressing their support. I am confident that with Caitlin’s impressive qualifications and reputation, she would have served with distinction.”Continue Reading...