Shortly after President Obama announced that he would recess appoint four officials in order to prevent Senate Republicans from effectively shutting down two key agencies through a filibuster, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) compared Obama’s actions to Pearl Harbor and promised a scorched earth campaign of obstruction against every one of the president’s nominees.
Fortunately, even most of Lee’s fellow Republican senators deemed Lee’s tantrum to be overblown. Last February, when the Senate voted to confirm Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo shortly after Lee announced his obstruction campaign, only five of Lee’s colleagues joined him. Yesterday, the Senate voted to confirm Judge Stephanie Thacker to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and Lee was only able to convince Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and David Vitter (R-LA) to join him in opposition. Even Tea Party stalwarts like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who joined Lee in opposing Bencivengo, broke with Lee on Thacker.