The Luger lobby: Sen. Klobuchar comments

In Minnesota we are awaiting President Trump’s appointment of a United States Attorney, two federal district court judges and an Eighth Circuit judge. It has previously been reported that Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar seeks the reappointment of Andrew Luger as United States Attorney. The Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor reported, for example: “Klobuchar said she will campaign for Luger to be renominated and has already spoken to Sessions and his deputy attorney general about Luger’s work. ‘His professionalism is so much bigger than any partisan decision,’ she said.”

Luger is not a good fit for appointment as United States Attorney by President Trump. As a matter of politics, the position of United States Attorney is a plum appointment and Luger is a liberal Democrat. Indeed, over the years Luger has generously donated thousands of dollars to liberal Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Tim Kaine, Keith Ellison and Senator Klobuchar herself.

Moreover, as I noted in the Star Tribune column “Islam and Minnesota: Can we hear some straight talk for a change?,” Luger is Exhibit B among the Minnesota public officials who are big into lecturing Minnesotans on “the current wave of Islamophobia.” (Governor Mark Dayton is Exhibit A.) “Islamophobia” is of course the politically correct term for the response to what President Trump is pleased to call “radical Islamic terrorism.”

By President Trump’s lights, what Dayton and Luger disparage as “Islamophobia” is not a “phobia.” It’s a rational response to a genuine phenomenon that is at work in Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States.

I have heard from knowledgeable sources that Senator Klobuchar has pressed Luger’s case for reappointment by threatening to blue slip Trump’s pending Minnesota district court judicial appointments. I asked Senator Klobuchar’s spokesman for comment. He flatly stated: “This is untrue.” In a later message he added: “This did not happen. She of course told AG Jeff Sessions that Andy Luger is highly qualified (consistent with her public statement). She has not negotiated.”

After revisiting the subject, I fine tuned my inquiry to Senator Klobuchar’s spokesman. I wrote him: “I am advised that [Senator Klobuchar] has…offered to accede to the appointment of [Minnesota Supreme Court Justice] David Stras to the Eighth Circuit if the administration will reappoint [Luger] US Attorney. I take it that this is comprised in your previous denial to me but want to be sure with respect to the highly specific information that I have.”

Senator Klobuchar’s spokesman responded: “The Senator will consider any judicial nominee on the merits, independent of any appointment of a U.S. attorney. A federal judgeship is a lifetime appointment.” Senator Klobuchar’s spokesman declines to comment further.

Readers with a long memory may recall that late last week Senator Klobuchar voted against the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and even supported the Democratic filibuster against his confirmation. Interpretation of Senator Klobuchar’s response to me may or may not be warranted. I don’t know. Readers seeking to interpret Senator Klobuchar’s response, however, should consult Senator Klobuchar’s March 28 statement opposing the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch.


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