Filibuster Tom Perez

Katrina Trinko wonders whether Tom Perez, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, will face the kind of stiff opposition in the Senate that Chuck Hagel encountered. He certainly should. Indeed, he should be filibustered.

Trinko notes that in 2009, 22 Republicans voted against Perez’s confirmation to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Since then, Perez has done plenty to warrant more robust opposition. Consider:

Perez is under congressional investigation regarding his involvement with an alleged quid pro quo deal between the Justice Department and St. Paul, Minn. Pursuant to that deal, the Justice Department would cease prosecuting a case against St. Paul (which could have net around $180 million for the federal government) if the city dropped a case that could have led to a Supreme Court decision to change the definition of “disparate impact” in housing-discrimination cases.

Perez’s Civil Rights Division appears to have allowed political/racial considerations to affect its handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case from Philadelphia.

A federal district judge found that Perez, when under oath, gave incorrect testimony about the involvement of political appointees in the handling of the New Black Panther Party case.

Looking ahead, as Secretary of Labor, Perez would crucially involved in the implementation of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, if it is enacted. Perez’s background in this area demonstrates that he cannot be trusted to implement immigration reform even-handedly, or even to abide by the law. As a member of the Montgomery County Council, he promoted spending taxpayer dollars on day-laborer sites to facilitate off-the-books work by illegal immigrants.

So will Republicans block Perez? According to Trinko, they “will be closely watching to see if Perez, like Hagel, ignites a firestorm among the grassroots.” They “aren’t sure whether conservative bloggers and their readers are even paying attention to Perez yet, but if the buzz builds, they want to be ready to capitalize.”

How pathetic is that? It’s as plain as the nose on one’s face that Perez is a corrupt left-wing ideologue who has been specially selected by Obama to implement immigration reform in as radical a fashion as possible. But Republican legislators are waiting to to see whether conservative bloggers will create some buzz.

And if we do, the response, apparently, will be to “capitalize,” but not to filibuster. According to Trinko, a filibuster is unlikely because, with an eye towards a future GOP president, Republicans are wary of setting a precedent for filibustering nominees.

Do Republicans seriously believe that their conduct now will dissuade Democrats from doing whatever it takes to thwart Republican presidents in the future, to the extent such presidents are serious about a conservative agenda? And would it even be inappropriate for Democrats to filibuster future nominees who, as Perez has done, give false testimony under oath, disregard the law, and make deals against the interest of taxpayers in order to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on their pet legal theories?

Obama has had his way on one aggressively leftist and/or dubiously qualified nominee after another. Filibustering Perez wouldn’t create a precedent for denying the president the cabinet nominees of his choice even in extreme cases. It would stand only for the proposition that there are limits to what the Senate will swallow when a president presents an over-the-top nominee who cannot be trusted properly to implement vital, transformative new legislation.


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