November 21, 2013 11:05AM

Race Has Nothing to Do with the Judicial Nominations Fight

The Congressional Black Caucus has now explicitly attacked Republicans as racist for blocking President Obama's latest judicial nominees. Not only are they racist, but if you scratch them, you find Confederate gray. 
Do these elected officials really think that the filibustering of three D.C. Circuit nominees (one of whom is black) has more to do with race than either judicial philosophy or the ongoing battle over whether this underworked court actually needs more judges? Even after Indian-American Sri Srinivasen was confirmed to that same court unanimously in May after Caitlin Halligan (who's white) was blocked for ideological reasons?

Moreover, this is a pretty rich accusation for Democratic lawmakers to make after the filibustering of Janice Rogers Brown (since confirmed after the 'Gang of 14' deal) and Miguel Estrada (seven failed cloture votes ultimately leading to withdrawal) during the Bush years. And recall the infamous memo detailing how Estrada needed to be blocked because he's Latino. 
This isn't even about whether the Senate should use the "nuclear option" to end the filibustering of nominees -- that's a question of tactics rather than principles -- but if Republicans had done that back in 2006, we wouldn't still be trapped in this political gamesmanship. Regardless of what happens on that front, however, there should be a forceful response from folks named Cruz and Rubio -- and Tim Scott, who was the only African-American senator until Cory Booker's election. 
This is shameful -- but alas of a piece with this administration's racialization of everything from housing policy to Justice Department hiring to voter ID. It's too bad that the CBC passes for leadership in the black community, distracting its constituents from real policy issues to engage in base calumny. 
I guess if all you have is a demagogic hammer, then everything is a racist nail.