Senator Patrick Leahy may have gotten a bit carried away in his eagerness to get on with the near-certain appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
So says Seth Stern of Congressional Quarterly in a report on the CQ Politics Web site this morning.
Stern reports that Leahy was taken to task by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the new ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for failing to let Sessions in on his decision to begin hearings on the Sotomayor nomination on July 13 before announcing the hearing schedule publicly.
“I apologize in not being more diligent in trying to reach you,” Leahy told Sessions during a meeting of the committee this week.
The story goes that Leahy had left a message with Sessions office alerting him to his decision on the hearing schedule but didn't wait to hear back from the Alabaman before disclosing his plans to reporters.
In the clubby, collegial world of the Senate, that was a big no-no and Sessions -- who didn't get the message until much later because he was at a funeral -- was peeved. And a peeved Republican can use Senate rules to throw up roadblocks to slow Sotomayor's ascension to the high court.
“It’s not the way to treat a ranking member,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee said of Leahy's misstep. To read the CQ story in full, click HERE
Leahy apologized to Sessions in private and then in public, but it's unclear if the bruise in their relationship had been healed. Leahy did recently allow the Rs on the panel all the time they wanted to question an Obama appointee to an appellate judge post.
“Sen. Leahy can be very gracious when he puts his mind to it,” Sessions was quoted as saying.
-- Sam Hemingway