The Lincoln (NE) Journal-Star ran an article today in which Senator Nelson responded to Dr. James Dobson’s suggestion that Nelson could be targeted for defeat in 2006 if he opposes President Bush’s judicial nominees. Nelson’s response was that he did not support obstructing judicial nominees, and that he joined only one filibuster: that of Henry Saad for the Sixth Circuit. He claims that he opposed Saad "because he was not allowed to read Saad’s background files and because both Michigan senators strongly opposed the nomination." Perhaps he should be asked to explain why he is following the lead of the Michigan senators, who are opposing Saad and three other nominees from Michigan not because of the qualifications of those judges, but because of a kind of nepotism. Indeed, Senator Levin has vowed to block all judges nominated from Michigan who do not have one key qualification: they must be his wife’s cousin.
Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see Nelson denouncing obstructionism--a move that I think other electorally vulnerable red state Democratic Senators are likely to mimic in the coming months.