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December 23, 2010

Good News (Non-Sarcastically, I Mean): Obama Appointee With Special Fondness For Sexual-Sadist Serial Killers Fails To Secure Promotion to Court of Appeals

DrewM alerted me to this.
You may remember this awful character.

In a series of cases involving defendants found guilty of child pornography, rape and sexual assault cases, Chatigny used the process of downward departure to reduce their sentences.

Chatigny's theory was that sexual sadism was a mental defect and therefore a mitigating, if not entirely exonerating, factor in sentencing. Which is true in its premise and utterly false in its conclusion: Yes, almost all serial killers, serial rapists, sexual predators, etc., do in fact have some kind of very bad chemicals in their head that causes them to channel all the energy human beings usually devote to sexual/romantic positioning and pursuit into targeting, stalking, capturing, torturing and killing people (especially women and children); that is, they're so evil they've conflated torture and murder with sexual release. Yes, that means they do suffer some compulsions the average person just doesn't.

But the conclusion? That they therefore should be given a limited (or even full!) pass for their crimes, which are spectacular in their evil horror? What?

The GOP struck a deal in which Obama's relatively uncontroversial judge picks, which were being held up as a bargaining chip, would go through whereas his controversial picks -- such as this Solid Citizen (as Lenny Briscoe, pbuh, might say) and Liu -- were blocked.

On page four of this digest of Congressional action, you can see the heading along the lines of "the following nominations were returned to the president" (that is, not approved) and there follows a long, long list of people whose nominations have been returned to the president without positive action.

Now, the thing is, the list is so long I'm certain that many of these names are not being blocked, but merely not acted on yet; but I think Drew is right that this is one of the "controversial" choices which is not going through in the deal. Update: DrewM is right, and all of these names are blocked. Some may be renominated, but for now, their nominations are dead. See below.

It may or may not be a good deal overall (YMMV), but it definitely had some good effect.

Cry: At the HuffPo, a liberal laments that 19 appointed judges failed to be confirmed.

one very important thing was left undone as a result of unrelenting Republican obstruction. Nineteen federal judicial nominees were left unconfirmed at the end of the session, just half of the number waiting on the Senate floor for a final yes-or-no vote.

Three circuit court and 16 district court nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee were prevented from receiving votes, including even the most noncontroversial individuals, many of whom are actually supported by Republican Senators. Here is the tragic fact: as a result of unprecedented Republican political gamesmanship, President Obama ends the first half of his first term with a smaller percentage of his nominees confirmed than any previous president.

3 circuit court of appeals nominations went through, 19 were rejected.

Although we frequently get on the GOP for selling us out (quite properly), we can also note the times they get something right. I have to quote this guy again:

as a result of unprecedented Republican political gamesmanship, President Obama ends the first half of his first term with a smaller percentage of his nominees confirmed than any previous president.

If that were any briefer I would put that on a pro-GOP bumper sticker.

DrewM. Clarifies:

Nominations die when the Congress adjourns sine die like they did yesterday. Obama can reappoint the guy but he'd had to resubmit the name and start the process of hearings again.

"Sine die" he says means without a specified date to reconvene (and address the matter again). Thus, the nomination is killed, at least for now, and Obama would have to re-nominate the guy for consideration by a more hostile Senate. So he's gone.

Drew further explains something so obvious I'm embarrassed I didn't realize/recall it: When a Congress ends, all pending business for the Congress dies with it. Every Congress is a new Congress, and only business taken up by each individual Congress can be acted on by that Congress.

Should have let him write the post, I realize now.

I've rewritten the post to delete most of my initial uncertainty.

digg this
posted by Ace at 12:38 PM

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