Better late than never: It took President Barack Obama two-and-half years to nominate U.S. attorneys for Texas. Last week, the four lawyers won U.S. Senate confirmation.In a comment that to Grits seems absurd given how this saga played out, "Cornyn says he and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, 'were trying to work constructively with the White House, and many members of the Texas House delegation were as perplexed as we were why the White House just did not move forward with a nomination — any nomination. But I am pleased with the result, even though I can't explain why it took so long to get there.'"
Obama nominated the four lawyers in June, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nominations on Sept. 8.
On Sept. 26, the full Senate confirmed Sarah Saldaña as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas; Ken Magidson as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas; Malcolm Bales as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas; and Robert Pitman as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. All four previously have served as federal prosecutors in the state.
While U.S. attorney posts are some of the most important a president fills, partisan politics played a role in the delay in seating Texas' four most important federal law enforcement positions. Texas' Republican U.S. senators and the Texas House Democratic Congressional Delegation fought over which party should have the White House's ear when suggesting candidates for the posts. In some cases, the Republican senators and the Texas House delegation sent competing names to the president.
Really, sir? You were "perplexed" by the fact that your threats to use senatorial privilege to block candidates you didn't personally select delayed these appointments for years on end? Cornyn created his own "screening committee" to recommend US Attorney candidates - including all four of those eventually named - and has since been engaged in a game of brinkmanship to bully his particular choices through the process. In 2009, reported MAIN Justice, Cornyn announced that ""No applicant will go forward who does not go through the screening committee because I'm not going to return a blue slip on them."
According to the same MAIN Justice article, "President George W. Bush generally ignored blue slips from Democrats, but the Obama White House has been much more solicitous of Republicans in the nominating process." They could have added that the reason Obama has been more solicitous is the expanded use of filibusters in such circumstances by GOP senators.
So if John Cornyn is really "perplexed" over the delay he's either amnesiac or a moron. Since I actually consider Sen. Cornyn a pretty smart guy, I think he's just being two-faced.