The cases against these two nominees were flimsy at best, even from a conservative perspective. Liu’s enjoyed the support of conservative icons like Clinton-inquistor Ken Starr and torture advocate John Yoo. Senators opposing his nomination offered little more than misrepresentation of his scholarship or hyperbolic claims that he wanted to turn America into “communist-run China.” The case against Halligan was even weaker, and largely boiled down to the fact that she once represented a client — the State of New York — that disagreed with the NRA.
On Monday, the Senate will try to break yet another filibuster — this time on Ninth Circuit nominee Paul Watford. And, once again, it’s tough to imagine a good reason to support this filibuster. Watford is a leading young attorney and a former Supreme Court clerk. He has a small army of conservative supporters, including nearly every single person who clerked for a Supreme Court justice at the time Watford worked on the Court. And his opponents have barely even managed to articulate a reason to oppose him. The best they’ve come up with is that, in a legal career that stretches twenty years, he represented two clients that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) doesn’t like.
Unfortunately for Watford, however, he is guilty of being the kind of exceptionally talented attorney who could be on the Supreme Court some day. If past is prologue, that will be reason enough for conservatives to filibuster him.