Last week, ThinkProgress reported that Arizona’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, are obstructing judicial nominees for their own state, which happens to be one of the most overloaded court system in America. Ian Millhiser wrote how McCain is holding up Rosemary Marquez, a defense attorney nominated by President Obama for the District Court of Arizona. Now, McCain is offering a demonstrably false explanation of why Marquez’ nomination is not moving forward:
When asked about attorney Rosemary Marquez’s appointment, he said her name hadn’t been submitted yet to the U.S. Judiciary Committee.
“We have not seen it submitted by the administration so neither Jon Kyl and I are blocking it. If her name is submitted we will go through the process which is our constitutional responsibility,” said Senator John McCain.
In reality, Marquez’s nomination was submitted to the Judiciary Committee three months ago on June 23, 2011. As the local Fox affiliate notes, Judiciary Committee staff confirmed the nomination with reporters in Arizona, and even provided Marquez’s nominee number (PN724112).
The massacre this year, in which Chief Judge John Roll was murdered in the same shooting that targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), left the district court with three vacancies. The Judicial Conference of the United States believes that eight additional judges are required to keep up with the court’s exploding caseload, where felony case filings alone nearly doubled from 3,023 in 2008 to 5,219 in 2010.
Why is McCain offering false explanations for why Marquez’ nomination is not moving forward? Its not clear. However, McCain has a long history of exploiting the broken rules of the Senate to in ways that benefit his corporate benefactors. In 2009, he worked with corporate lobbyists at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to block a key nominee to the Labor Relations Board. Chamber board members donated nearly $400,000 to his presidential campaign in 2008, and he received renewed Chamber support shortly after he placed a hold on this nomination.