Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to keep the chamber in session “around the clock” today until there are votes on five of President Obama’s long-stalled nominees. One of these nominees is Marisa Demeo, whom Obama nominated to be a judge on the D.C. Superior Court. Even though judges for this court are usually easily approved, Demeo has faced the longest delay of any judicial nominee; Obama nominated Demeo on March 24 and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs endorsed her on May 20.
Jim DeMint (R-SC) is the senator behind the delay on Demeo. As the National Law Journal (subscription required) reported, conservative objections to Demeo seem to be based on her strong legal advocacy work on Hispanic and LGBT issues. Demeo has an accomplished legal career, working for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, as an assistant U.S. attorney, and most recently as a D.C. magistrate judge since 2007. She also was a lawyer and lobbyist for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and as an openly gay woman, has been a member of the Human Rights Campaign and co-president of GAYLAW. From the National Law Journal:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who frequently delays Obama nominees, said he is holding up Demeo’s nomination in his role as chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee, a caucus of conservative senators. “A number of Republicans had concerns and asked me, as chairman of Steering, to ask for limited debate and a recorded vote because of a history of very leftist activism,” he said. … “There are just a number of things that don’t look like a fair and balanced approach that you’d like in a judge,” he said.
The right-wing Traditional Values Coalition is being more explicit in why it opposes Demeo. ThinkProgress obtained a letter the group sent to senators last week, which says that Demeo is an “open, radical lesbian” who supports marriage equality:
As an open, radical lesbian, Demeo has openly condemned the effort to amend our Constitution to protect marriage as a one-man, one-woman union. Demeo supports gay marriage, claiming it is a constitutional right. She also claims that LGBT individuals are equal to racial minorities and can claim protection as minorities under our civil rights laws.
As a DC Superior Court Judge, Demeo would be in a key position to undermine our national security and destroy traditional marriage through her edicts. The DC Superior Court is known to be a steppingstone to the Supreme Court.
Demeo’s radical lesbianism, anti-marriage, anti-national security views are dangerous to our nation. She should not be confirmed to the DC Superior Court.
DeMint also opposed Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination for the Supreme Court, saying that he didn’t like her using the term “wise Latina” and was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to “decide cases based on the law and not her personal views.” During the confirmation process, the right wing equated Sotomayor’s affiliation with the National Council of La Raza with being a member of “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”
The Senate approved Demeo 66–32.