Senate Dems Grill President’s Judicial Nominee

It’s not really news when the opposition party takes on a President’s judicial nominee in committee hearings, but when his own party does, that’s another story. Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats objected to Judge Michael Boggs for the Georgia Court of Appeals for his views on abortion and gay marriage. They also scrutinized his vote in favor of keeping a Confederate emblem on the state flag when he was in the legislature. Boggs was nominated after consultation with Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans. According to Senate tradition, before hearings may be held, home state Senators must file what are known as “blue slips” to register their position on a nominee. In other words, they may effectively veto a nominee by not complying. Thus the President must work with opposition Senators, which means he also risks running afoul of his own party.

The Hill: Senate Dems Pound Obama Judge Pick

Senate Judiciary Committee: Judicial Nominations

Representative Conyers Fails to Make Primary Ballot

When Representative John Dingell announced his impending retirement, fellow Michigander Representative John Conyers was set to become the Dean of the House in the next Congress. However, he might not get the chance to do so, since a county official announced that he did not have enough valid signatures for his nomination. Representative Conyers can appeal to the Michigan Secretary of State or run as a write-in candidate. If Representative Conyers does not succeed in his quest to get on the ballot, it will open up a race within the Democratic Caucus to lead serve as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.

Associated Press: Official: Conyers Lacks Signatures for Ballot

Roll Call: If Conyers Leaves Congress, Fight for Top Judiciary Democrat Looms

Senate Republicans Push for Medical Device Tax Repeal

One of the most popular reforms to Obamacare is repealing the tax on medical devices, and Republicans along with many Democrats support the proposal. Senate Republicans have sought to amend a bill extending a number of tax breaks to include the medical device repeal, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada refuses to consider it. According to Roll Call, Reid said, “I’m not going to cry any big tears over the device folks”. Republicans have complained that the Democrats are willing to vote on non-binding resolutions on the matter, but will not consider legislation that would enact the policy.

Roll Call: Medical Device Tax Repeal Vote Sought by GOP (Video)

And for our latest post: Using the “Pen and Phone” to Blur the Separation of Powers