The Senate has confirmed the nomination of left-winger David Barron to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The vote was 53-45.
Only two Democrats voted against confirming Barron. They were Joe Manchin, a genuine moderate, and Mary Landrieu, who is up for re-election in a conservative state.
Other pseudo-moderate Democrats such as Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, and Kay Hagan were perfectly content to rubber-stamp a nominee who, among things, has (1) openly urged that the Supreme Court “sacrifice” both “candor and clarity” to advance “activism;” (2) called for “a degree of land use regulation that it is not clear current views of due process … permit;” (3) advocated “a progressive federalism” that “would give states and local governments much greater room to regulate the private market” and “private business;” and (4) expressed the desire to expand the scope of the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, to encompass hate-crimes legislation aimed at gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability.
Tom Cotton, who is running against Mark Pryor, immediately released a statement under the title “Pryor Rubber-Stamps Another Liberal Obama Judicial Nominee.” (Actually, I wish Barron were just another liberal judicial nominee). Here is what Tom said:
Arkansans’s senator should confirm judges who will uphold the law, not make law, and Senator Pryor’s rubber-stamp of yet another Obama nominee, David Barron, doesn’t reflect Arkansas values. Mr. Barron was one of my teachers in law school; he is a good man and was a conscientious teacher. But he also believes in unrestrained judicial activism, disrespects private property rights, and would impose his values on cases, as when he tried to block military recruiters from college campuses. Senator Pryor’s vote to confirm David Barron shows how out-of-touch he is with Arkansas values.
Tom’s mention of blocking military recruiters is a reference to Barron’s role in the Solomon Amendment litigation, which we covered extensively (see here, for example). The Cotton campaign explained:
David Barron sought to bar military recruiters from college campuses for political reasons. He was a party in the United States Supreme Court’s Solomon Amendment case (Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights), and urged the justices to participate in judicial activism by changing the clear meaning of the Solomon amendment. Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected Barron’s argument in a unanimous 8-0 decision.
I can’t speak for Arkansans, but it seems difficult to disagree with Tom’s view that Barron doesn’t reflect Arkansas values. Perhaps Arkansas voters will conclude that Mark Pryor, whose vote put Obamacare over the top and who today helped Barron across the finish line, no longer reflects those values either.