Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who blocked the confirmation of a woman to the federal bench because she attended a same-sex commitment ceremony for the daughter of her long-time neighbors, says he will now allow a vote on the nomination.
Mr. Brownback, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said in a recent interview that when the Senate returned in January, he would allow a vote on Janet Neff, a 61-year-old Michigan state judge, who was nominated to a Federal District Court seat.
Mr. Brownback, who has been criticized for blocking the nomination, said he would also no longer press a proposed solution he offered on Dec. 8 that garnered even more criticism: that he would remove his block if Judge Neff agreed to recuse herself from all cases involving same-sex unions.
In an interview last week, Mr. Brownback said that he still believed Judge Neff’s behavior raised serious questions about her impartiality and that he was likely to vote against her. But he said he did not realize his proposal — asking a nominee to agree in advance to remove herself from deciding a whole category of cases — was so unusual as to be possibly unprecedented. Legal scholars said it raised constitutional questions of separation of powers for a senator to demand that a judge commit to behavior on the bench in exchange for a vote.
Sen. Brownback is a dangerous man. He plays the religion card whenever it suits his political needs. Why he is a Senator is unclear to me. It is laughable that he is thinking about running for President. Bush is stable thoughtful politician compared to Brownback.