When Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) votes against the confirmation of Timothy Hillman today, the judge shouldn’t take it personally. Since President Obama’s recess appointments in January, the tea-party darling has refused to support any of the president’s judiciary nominees. He says he will vote against all the president’s appointees until Obama rescinds his recess nominations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board.
And since — no surprise — the president hasn’t rescinded any of those nominations, Lee has voted against his all appointees since January 4, as Brian Phillips, his communications director, told National Review.
Lee explains his stance on his website, charging that the president’s appointments took our government in “a step toward tyranny.”
That brings us to today’s vote. The president nominated Hillman to be U.S. district judge for the District of Massachusetts. When he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March, he was approved by a vote of 17 to 1, with Lee as the sole dissenter. The freshman senator will vote against him once more this afternoon, an act that has more to do with political protest than substantive concerns.
Lee isn’t alone on this, either. Senator Jim DeMint’s communications director, Wesley Denton, told National Review that the senator also refuses to vote for Obama’s judicial nominees because of the president’s “complete disdain for the people’s elected representatives.”
Though he won’t be in D.C. tonight to vote against Hillman, DeMint would if he could.