I have posted frequently about John J. "Jack" McConnell, Jr., nominated for an open seat to the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island. McConnell is a friend and campaign supporter of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who backs McConnell and who repeatedly has threatened retaliation is McConnell did not get an up or down vote, and was filibustered.
McConnell is very, very controversial because he donated several hundred thousand dollars to Democrats, made inflammatory anti-Republican statements, engaged in dubious lead paint litigation which was thrown out of court, and has refused to release records regarding a questionable settlement in one of his lead paint cases.
McConnell is the first District Court nominee ever opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Ever. That should tell you something.
This is McConnell's second go-round. He was one of four nominees left out of a deal last Christmas in which numerous Obama nominees were confirmed.
McConnell passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, with the exception of Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor.
Perhaps emboldened with Obama's new-found momentum, Harry Reid just filed a cloture petition on McConnell's confirmation, meaning that there will be a cloture vote as early as tomorrow.
If cloture is achieved, McConnell almost certainly will be confirmed because of the Democratic majority in the Senate.
It is important that you make clear to Republicans in the Senate that they should not vote for cloture.
Start by contacting Lindsey Graham's office, via e-mail or better yet, telephone 202-224-5972.
(Added) Powerline has more on McConnell.
Update: My sources tell me that in addition to Graham the following Republicans may vote in favor of cloture, leaving only 41 against: Cornyn, Thune, Hatch , Snowe and Collins. (Added.) Apparently Kirk and Brown also are potential problems, so there may not be enough to stop the nomination, but things are fluid. I have calls or e-mails into several offices, and I'll keep you informed.
Contact info. for Senators who are on the fence or whose positions are not known:
John Thune – 202-224-2321 / e-mail
Scott Brown – 202-224-4543 / e-mail
Orrin Hatch - 202-224-5251 / e-mail
Mark Kirk - 202-224-2854 / e-mail
Marco Rubio - 202-224-3041 / e-mail
Saxby Chamliss – 202-224-3521 / e-mail
Johnny Isakson - 202-224-3643 / e-mail
Richard Burr - 202-224-3154 / e-mail
Olympia Snowe - 202-224-5344 / e-mail
Susan Collins - 202-224-2523 / e-mail
Updates as they come in:
Cornyn, not completely confirmed, but appears he will vote against cloture and will give strong speech on Senate floor that McConnell is an "extraordinary circumstance." (Added) Cornyn circulated a devastating letter to his colleagues urging them to oppose cloture, arguing that McConnell deliberately misled the Judiciary Committee (via Point of Law)
Lugar's press secretary e-mails as follows: "Sen. Lugar will oppose the nomination of McConnell. Lugar will vote against cloture."
Graham and Collins now are on record as saying the will vote for cloture.
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