Maryland’s two Democratic Senators, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, are objecting to President Bush’s nomination of Maryland U.S. attorney to an open seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. They claim he has not been a member of the Maryland bar long enough to merit appointment to a “Maryland seat” on the Court. Today the Washington Post dismantles their obstructionist arguments and urges Senate confirmation for Rosenstein.
Federal appeals court judges rule almost exclusively on the basis of federal law — not state and local law — so experience in the local bar or local courts would have little, if any, impact on their ability to perform the job. And punishing Mr. Rosenstein by denying him a judgeship because of an outstanding performance as U.S. attorney is perverse. In fact, the office has stabilized under Mr. Rosenstein and counts among its ranks senior lawyers who would be capable of taking charge.
Ms. Mikulski and Mr. Cardin may be hoping to stall Mr. Rosenstein’s nomination until a Democratic president can fill the Maryland seat. Such a move would not be unprecedented, but if it is happening, it is wrong. And it is most disturbing when it affects a nominee of Mr. Rosenstein’s caliber. . . .
. . .blocking Mr. Rosenstein’s confirmation hearing — as the Maryland senators may yet do — would elevate ideology and ego above substance and merit, and it would unfairly penalize a man who people on both sides of this question agree is well qualified for a judgeship.