Don’t you love it when this happens? Joe Biden’s nominee for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals failed to win Senate confirmation due to the absence of two Democrat senators. Senators Maggie Hassan (N.H.) and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) missed the vote. The confirmation of public defender Arianna Freeman to the appeals court failed by a vote of 47 to 50.
One Republican senator was also absent, Todd Young from Indiana, but in the end that didn’t matter. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voted “no” as a procedural move. It allows him to bring her nomination back to the floor at a future date. All Republicans voted against the nominee.
If both absent Democrats had been present and voted “yes” along with Schumer, Freeman would have won confirmation in a 50-49 vote. Democrats also could have won Freeman’s confirmation in a 49-49 vote, with Vice President Harris breaking the tie because of Young’s absence.
The blame falls on the Democrats, which is ironic. The absence of two Democrat women torpedoed the nomination of a diversity choice nominated by Joe Biden for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Freeman would have been the first black woman judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. You know how important the box-checking is to Biden. He has a very diverse cabinet as a result of his preference to value personal identities over professional experience. Most of his cabinet members are not qualified for their positions and we’ve had one crisis after another during Biden’s nineteen months in office. I’m not saying that Arianna Freeman is not qualified but because of Biden’s previous choices, it causes questions to be asked. She has no judicial experience.
Her nomination has divided the Democrats and Republicans from the beginning.
Freeman’s nomination to serve on the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit divided the Judiciary Committee along partisan lines earlier this year. Democrats and Republicans deadlocked 11-11 on a vote to discharge her to the floor.
A graduate of Yale Law school, Freeman has worked as a public defender for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, representing state and federal inmates in challenging their convictions and sentences.
The Senate voted in June to discharge her nomination from the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 50 to 48.
Rest assured that her nomination will be brought up for a vote when scheduling allows it. This failure is due to the absences and poor scheduling. Hassan was in New Hampshire when the vote was taken. She is trying to hold on to her Senate seat in today’s N.H. primary. Her absence shouldn’t have been a surprise. This might delay the start of the debate on the Senate floor for the Respect for Marriage Act, though. Schumer wants that to happen at the end of this week. A new vote for Freeman will slow that projected timeline down.
Republican senators objected to Freeman’s nomination due to her work as a court-appointed defense lawyer.
Freeman’s work as a court-appointed defense lawyer led to opposition from Republicans, including one of her two home-state senators, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who refused to return a so-called “blue slip” backing her.
Some Republicans, including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, criticized her work on behalf of a Pennsylvania death row inmate as well.
Toomey’s support, though, was not needed as Democratic Committee Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois has been following a policy GOP senators adopted in the Trump era of not requiring “blue slips” for circuit court picks.
Durbin at that hearing said she had “extraordinary experience,” and Freeman said she believed “the justice system works best when both sides have quality representation.”
Biden and Schumer have been making a push to get as many judicial nominations confirmed as possible before the midterm elections in November. Biden’s priority has been to increase racial and gender diversity on the federal bench. When the top focus is race and gender in something as important as a judicial nomination, what could go wrong?