MARCH 04, 2010
In a move that could easily be construed as selling judgeships for much-needed healthcare votes, the president has nominated the brother of a Democratic congressman who opposes Obamacare to a federal court of appeals.
While it’s possible that this week’s nomination of Utah law professor Scott Matheson to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is unrelated to the pending legislation, the timing certainly raises some questions. After all, the president lacks the votes to fulfill his contentious health reform legacy and could be resorting to desperate measures.
The connection between the lawmaker, Utah Congressman Jim Matheson, and the soon-to-be-federal jurist was made this week by a conservative news magazine that reveals little brother in the U.S. House of Representatives has twice voted against Obamacare. That, of course, means he needs to be swayed.
Congressman Matheson shot the healthcare bill with Nays in committee (Energy and Commerce) back in July and during the full House vote in November. He’s one of ten House Democrats opposed to the president’s healthcare overhaul, which is why he was invited to the White House this week for a secret persuasion shindig.
Not surprisingly, both sides deny that the judgeship has anything to do with the pending bill and Congressman Matheson insists “let’s not link these two issues.” It will be interesting to see if he suddenly sees the light and votes for the measure that he ardently opposed before his brother got the nomination.
Perhaps the Obama Administration should take note of this sensible point made by a Houston newspaper columnist; even the appearance of a president selling an office in return for someone’s vote would be toxic for the chances of that vote being actually bought.
Has this even occurred to the president and his army of advisors and czars, Americans may wonder. Probably not, since the commander-in-chief was obviously confident that no one would connect the dots and figure out that the judicial nominee’s brother is a crucial undecided vote on the most important item on his agenda.
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