• The only way a U.S. Senator, on his own, can block a nominee for federal judge is if the nominee comes from the Senator's state.
There was no Senatorial "block" on Mike Green's nomination.
But the Democratic Senate sent it back anyway.
And the President said immediately, "No renomination."
All the other District Court nominees sent back to the White House were blocked by their own Senators. But not Mike Green. So that didn't stop his nomination.
• The Republican Senate minority can keep a nomination from a vote by filibustering.
No filibuster was attempted, or threatened, to stop Mike Green's nomination.
But the Democratic Senate sent back his nomination anyway. And the President said immediately, "No renomination."
All the other nominees sent back to the White House, for both District and Appeals Courts, were either blocked by their Senators, or filibustered. But not Mike Green. So filibuster didn't stop his nomination.
Eight judicial nominations were sent back. Five were blocked by home-state senators. That left three. Of the three, two lost floor votes to stop a filibuster. That left one -- Mike Green.
Not blocked by home-state Senators. Not blocked by a filibuster. No procedural reason to not go forward. Yet sent back anyway, by the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate.
That's the same Democratic leadership that brought to the floor those nominations it wanted to, even when they expected a filibuster. It brought Appeals Court nominee Caitlin Halligan up for a vote. She was filibustered, and lost a vote to stop the filibuster.
She, like others nominees sent back, might be renominated. But not Green. The President said immediately he wouldn't nominate Mike Green again.
Renominations happen a lot. The President renominated 32 District Court nominees who were sent back to him a year ago, in December 2010. It's on the Senate Judiciary Committee's website. But the President won't renominate Mike Green.
As we asked the other day, W-H-Y-?
Specifically, what are the "further issues" that have "come to light," according to a Republican Senate staffer quoted in today's Democrat and Chronicle, that caused the return of Green's nomination to the White House?
Why didn't Senator Schumer and President Obama call out the staffer and the Republican Senator she works for, demanding to know just what "further issues" she was talking about? You know: "How dare you make unspecified allegations against a nominee!" Instead, they gave up on Green pretty quickly.
Senator Schumer's staffer reportedly told Green "someone in Monroe County doesn't want you to be a judge." The staffer didn't say "the Republicans" in Monroe County, which is how one political person would express it to another if that were the case. The staffer said "someone."
The last thing the Monroe County Republican heirarchy wants is for Mike Green, a proven vote-getter, to be at liberty to challenge them in an election for state supreme court judge . As we noted the other day, they wanted him confirmed -- kicked upstairs and out of their hair in future judicial elections.
For the Democrats controlling the U.S. Senate to send back a nominee of their own party, who was not blocked and not stopped by a filibuster, would take intervention from their own side. That, and concern over embarrassment about what might come to light publicly if they proceeded.
Green got the judicial nod because County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle wanted him to make way for Frank Geraci to become DA, as we've reported. County Court Judge Geraci is a distinguished and respected jurist, despite being close to Joe Morelle.
Last Spring, Morelle asked Green to step down then, so Geraci could run for DA in the Fall with half-a-year's incumbency behind him. Green refused. During one of their conversations on this subject, Green is reported to have said to Morelle words to the effect, "I owe the Democratic Party nothing." Joe was not amused.
Geraci declined to run as a non-incumbent with only one line on the ballot. Which left Morelle, at the last minute, with no choice other than Sandra Doorley, who happened to be Green's own choice for a successor.
You know the rest. Doorley won a convincing victory in November. Green was out as DA.
Green had burned the local Democratic establishment and now they didn't need him, had no love for him and had no reason for Green to get his dream job on the federal bench.
Now Joe Morelle can arrrange a nomination that can help him politically, maybe nominating City Court Judge Theresa Johnson, to make David Gannt and other local Democratic leaders happy.
We've all read the articles the past few days and seen the news stories. We've heard comments from Mr. Green, from Senator Schumer and others. But the person who's become very conspicuous by saying hardly anything about the demise of the Green nomination is ... Joe Morelle.
The situation gives County Democrats a chance to pull off the perfect political crime: sabatoging Green's nomination and having the Republicans blamed for it. Frankly, for students of politics like us, there's a certain beauty to it. They're good at what they do sometimes.
Since all of this leaves Green as a potential candidate for state supreme court, far better to blame partisanship than risk a public airing of the "further issues" about Green, "whose specifics," according to today's D&C, "haven't been disclosed."
The newspaper headlines today's story, "Green is not alone in rejection." This precisely inverts the truth. Green's rejection is utterly unique, for reasons specific to him.
And if you need final proof positive that the mysterious "further issues" have nothing to do with Monroe County Republicans, it's this: D&C editor Karen Magnuson, de facto leader of the County Democratic Party, would have her reporters digging like mad to "specify" those "issues," if she thought they had anything to do with local Republicans trying to scuttle the nomination of Mike Green.
Instead, she won't touch it. No way she'd print what would come out.
We invite those with information about the "further issues" to contact us at