Janet Neff

Time for a few updates on a subject near and dear to our heart, which we’ve been neglecting as of late: federal judicial nominations. Here’s the latest news:
Jennifer Elrod Judge Jennifer W Elrod Above the Law blog.jpg1. Texas state court judge Jennifer Elrod (at right), whom we previously identified as a possible nominee to the Fifth Circuit (and compared to Jennifer Aniston), has been officially nominated to that court. We’ve heard good things about Judge Elrod and wish her the best of luck in the confirmation process.
2. Connecticut state court judge Vanessa Bryant, discussed previously here, has been confirmed to the District of Connecticut.
3. Earlier this month, the White House sent a raft of judicial nominations over to the Senate. Nothing terribly exciting.
The two most controversial nominees in the bunch: state court judge Janet Neff (D. Mich.), and trial lawyer Richard Honaker (D. Wyo.). They may generate opposition on opposite sides of the aisle. Neff got a lot of grief from the conservative Sen. Sam Brownback for having attended a lesbian commitment ceremony. Honaker may be targeted by liberals for his record of strong opposition to abortion.
Here’s a random bit of trivia about Honaker: he was a Harvard classmate of Al Franken. If Honaker runs into opposition from liberals (despite being a trial lawyer and card-carrying member of ATLA), will Franken testify in his defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee?
(The article also mentions Billy Crystal, but we don’t believe Billy Crystal went to Harvard.)
Update: HA! The Billy Crystal mystery is revealed. Check out this comment.
Nomination Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Nominations Confirmed [Senate.gov via How Appealing]
Nominations Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Harris County civil judge nominated to federal bench [Houston Chronicle]
Bush renominates five Michiganians to federal judgeships [Detroit News]
Thomas announces judgeship nomination for Rock Springs lawyer [Casper Star-Tribune via How Appealing]

Marissa Cooper Alex The OC girl girls lesbian kiss.jpgWe’re obsessed with federal judges. And we’re fascinated by lesbians (in a strange, quasi-sociological way). So of course we must weigh in on the whole Senator Sam Brownback/Judge Janet Neff controversy.
The uber-conservative Senator Brownback (R-KS), a likely standard-bearer for social conservatives in 2008, had been blocking Judge Neff’s nomination to the federal bench — currently she’s a Michigan state-court judge — because she once attended a same-sex commitment ceremony. For lesbians.
But earlier this week, Sen. Brownback announced that he would permit a vote on Janet Neff’s nomination. We see this as good news.
Call us libertine (or libertarian), but Senator Brownback’s original position was a bit much. We agree with Dan Markel’s characterization of it as “asinine” and “obtuse.” Regardless of your views on gay marriage, it seems unwarranted to hold up a judicial nomination because the nominee once went to a party. Back in 2002. For lesbians.
(And we’d add that Judge Neff is merely a District Court nominee. How much damage can she do there? If she issues an opinion holding that the U.S. Constitution guarantees lesbians the right to marry, she’ll be reversed faster than you can say “power tools.” And if Brownback is worried that she’d use her judicial authority to go around marrying Sapphists left and right, it’s too late — she’s already a state court judge.)
Here’s a little more background (and commentary):

Janet T. Neff — the judicial nominee whose nomination to the federal bench is being delayed while Sen. Sam Brownback investigates what, exactly, she did at a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony — says that she attended the event merely as a friend and did not act out of line. In a letter to Brownback that was quoted today by the AP, Neff wrote:

“The ceremony, which was entirely private, took place in Massachusetts, where I had no authority to act in any official capacity and where, in any event, the ceremony had no legal effect…”

“When Mary and her partner, Karen Adelman, asked me to participate in their commitment ceremony by delivering a homily, it was not different from being asked by my own daughters to be part of an important event in their lives.”

And we think we speak for everyone when we say: BURN HER!!!!!! SHE’S A….COMMITMENT CEREMONY ATTENDEE?!?!?!?!

It’s unclear what Brownback will do next to try and stop Neff’s nomination. However, rumor has it he is currently in his lab testing hairs that he plucked from Neff’s head to see if any of “the gay” happened to seep in through her scalp and penetrate her soul.

Even more dubious than Senator Brownback’s original position was this idea:

Mr. Brownback… said he would also no longer press a proposed solution he offered on Dec. 8 that garnered even more criticism: that he would remove his block if Judge Neff agreed to recuse herself from all cases involving same-sex unions.

In an interview with the Times, Professor Charles Fried, the prominent conservative legal scholar, explained why this proposal would be problematic. For lesbians. And the judiciary, too.
But wait — it’s not over yet. Senator Brownback will allow a vote on Janet Neff, but he wants more hearings, so he can question her further about her participation in the lesbianic rituals. (Read: grandstand for Republican primary voters.)
We’ve rambled on long enough; now it’s your turn. After all, YOU are Time’s Person of the Year.
Please help out Senator Brownback. In the comments, please suggest questions for Brownback to propose to Judge Neff if supplemental hearings take place. Thanks.
Update: Some well-expressed views on this from Captain Ed (via Instapundit).
Brownback Wants to Re-Question Nominee [Associated Press via How Appealing]
Senator Removes His Block on Federal Court Nominee [New York Times]
This time of year, however, it’s usually the free booze, Ecstasy, and mistletoe [PrawfsBlawg]
Yes, Ms. Neff, but when the women kissed — did you look at them for a period extending three seconds? [Good As You]