Pat Toomey working hard to get Obama judges confirmed


When Pat Toomey, former president of the conservative Club for Growth, was elected a senator from Pennsylvania, we'd knew he'd be a tough fighter. We just didn't know that he'd be a tough fighter for getting Obama's kooky leftist judges confirmed.

Even the Republican leadership, which is far from right wing, doesn't want to confirm any more judges, but Toomey is to the left of Mitch McConnell on this one.

On Monday evening, something exceptional happened in the Senate: Lawmakers confirmed a Circuit Court judge nominated by President Barack Obama. Luis Felipe Restrepo of Pennsylvania became only the second Circuit Court judge approved in the past year, and the 12th federal judge overall, an approval rate slower than any time since 1969.

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Toomey was hammered for months as Restrepo’s nomination stalled, and he now has four Pennsylvania district court nominees moving through the confirmation process. It may upset the conservative base, but a few confirmations could be helpful to Toomey, who faces a tough path to reelection this fall.

Who is this Restrepo that Toomey was pushing? A sleezy criminal defense lawyer:

In 2005, he was appointed to represent a member of a transnational criminal gang accused of capital murder. Restrepo presented a successful mitigation defense during the penalty phase of trial and his client avoided a death sentence. 2 In another capital case, Restrepo convinced the government to withdraw its notice to seek the death penalty after he presented evidence of his client’s mental disability. 3 In United States v. Cantero, Judge Restrepo represented a juvenile—one of the few charged in federal court—who faced multiple offenses arising out of a kidnapping and carjacking. At sentencing, the victim testified on the defendant’s behalf, and Restrepo convinced the court to depart downward from the sentencing guidelines.

Here are Toomey's own words on the subject, in response to a liberal newspaper which criticized him for not supporting even more leftist judges:

As a senator, I have become accustomed to being criticized for things I have done. But it is a little harder to hear criticism for things that I have not done — specifically, your editorial board’s false assertion that I am somehow delaying the nomination of Judge L. Felipe Restrepo to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (“Unjust Delay: Toomey Is to Blame for a Stalled Nomination,” May 10 editorial). Even worse, your board then ascribed a false motive for the actions that I never took.

I fully support the president’s proposal to elevate Judge Restrepo to the 3rd Circuit, just as I supported his confirmation to the federal district court. In 2012, I joined Sen. Bob Casey in asking the White House to nominate Judge Restrepo to the district court, I urged my colleagues to vote for Judge Restrepo and I happily voted for his confirmation.

Sen. Casey and I have worked closely together to identify, vet, recommend and confirm 15 judicial candidates for the federal bench in Pennsylvania. Judge Restrepo’s confirmation to the 3rd Circuit will mark 16. Only two states — California and New York — have had more judges confirmed to their federal benches during this time.

This is a record of bipartisan accomplishment to be celebrated, not to be misrepresented.

Toomey could have said that he woudn't support Restrepo, because of his record helping awful criminals avoid jail time. He could have said that he would do everything he could to stop Obama's judges because of their pro-Illegal alien and anti-business and anti-police agendas. Even in Pennsylvania that would have been popular.

But the easier thing to do for Pat Toomey was to collapse and become a "Me too!" Republican. I supposed he's worried about his upcoming reelection; after all, if a Democrat unseats him, the new Senator will undoubtedly be a rubber stamp for Obama's judicial nominees. Just like Pat Toomey (who has a "D" rating from Conservativereview.com).

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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