Mark Pryor under attack for rubber-stamping Obama’s judicial nominees

Sen. Mark Pryor’s vote in favor of Obamacare, without which that legislation would not have passed the Senate, should be enough to cause his defeat in the 2014 Arkansas race Senate. And, at the end of the day, I suspect it will be.

However, there is also the matter of President Obama’s judicial nominees. Pryor has not voted against the confirmation of a single one. Not even far left-winger Goodwin Liu, whom the Senate did not confirm.

To be sure, a respectable school of thought holds that the U.S. president should have his judicial nominees confirmed without regard to their ideology, especially when we’re talking about a lesser court than the Supreme Court. But Pryor does not hold this view. He voted to sustain the filibuster of Miguel Estrada’s nomination. Even the Washington Post found that a vote to confirm Estrada was “an easy call.”

Pryor is about to come under attack in Arkansas for his role as a rubber-stamp of Obama’s judicial nominees. Beginning tomorrow, the Judicial Crisis Network will air an ad that criticizes Pryor on this score. The ad states:

Mark Pryor voted for every one of Obama’s liberal activist judges. Every single one. Now Pryor is helping Obama pack a key court with new liberal judges who will review the EPA, the IRS and agencies Obama is using to push his unconstitutional job-killing agenda. When Mark Pryor rubber-stamps Obama’s liberal judges, it hurts Arkansas. Enough is enough. Tell Mark Pryor to go work for Arkansas, not Obama.

We wrote here about Obama’s effort to “pack” the D.C. Circuit, in connection with his nomination of another far left-winger, Cornelia Pillard. Her nomination will come before the Senate tomorrow, the same day that the Judicial Crisis Network’s ad runs.

Folks like us have long speculated about the extent, if any, to which battles over judicial nominations resonate with voters. The potential resonance of the Judicial Crisis Network’s anti-Pryor ad stems less from tying Pryor to judicial activism than from trying him to Obama.

Pryor, in any event, takes the ad seriously. His office issued a document noting that he did not vote for three of President Obama’s judicial nominees. But, as Carrie Severino points out, these nominees — Sheri Chappell, Edward Davila, and Joseph Greenaway — were all confirmed without a “nay” vote. In other words, (1) they were not problematic “liberal activist judges” and (2) Pryor didn’t vote against them, he simply skipped the vote.

Pryor’s office also claims that the Senator “took [a] lead role in confirming Bush judicial nominations.” As noted above, however, Pryor was a party to the filibuster of Miguel Estrada, a highly qualified Bush nominee.

Mark Pryor has plenty of explaining to do, on plenty of fronts, to Arkansas voters. His weak explanation of his record on judicial nominations is emblematic, I think, of the overall weakness of his position.

Our friend Tom Cotton is running against Pryor. You can support Tom’s campaign by contributing here.

Here is the Judicial Crisis Network’s ad:


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