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By a party line vote Thursday, Janice Rogers Brown’s nomination to the federal bench was sent to the full Senate, where it is all but certain she will become the fifth Bush nominee to face a filibuster. Democrats won’t confirm a filibuster is in the works. But Capitol Hill sources note that every Bush nominee that has faced a filibuster so far was, like Brown, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10-9 vote. The tenor of the hearing, at which all Democrats, including home-state Sen. Dianne Feinstein, voted no, left little doubt that the California Supreme Court justice faces the same kind of treatment that forced Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada to withdraw his name from consideration earlier this year. Both were nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. “Democrats are virtually certain to filibuster Janice Rogers Brown,” judiciary committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said after the hearing. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the committee, led off the Brown bashing by declaring her “one of the president’s most controversial nominees.” He attempted to delay the vote by saying it was coming too soon. Brown’s confirmation hearing was only two weeks ago, he said, and many of the Democratic committee members had followed up by sending Brown questions in writing. “Many of her written responses didn’t arrive until [Thursday] morning,” Leahy said. “Many of her answers were unresponsive.” Some of the harshest comments, however, came from Feinstein, who said her decision to oppose a home-state nominee didn’t come easy. In the end, it was Brown’s off-the-bench speeches that concerned Feinstein and convinced her that the 49-year-old jurist doesn’t deserve a lifetime appointment to the D.C. Circuit. “There is a Justice Brown who is a sitting member of the Supreme Court of California,” Feinstein said. “And there is a Justice Brown who makes speeches. Those speeches are stark, they are filled with hyperbole, and they are extraordinarily unusual — especially for a judge, let alone a Supreme Court justice.” Feinstein cited a few speeches, including one in 2000 before Chicago’s Federalist Society in which Brown made the case that government intervention causes the disintegration of civil society resulting in “a debased, debauched culture, which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible.” “It’s hard for me to imagine someone with such views wanting to sit on the D.C. Circuit,” Feinstein said. “I’ve never seen a nominee who in their public utterances and while sitting on a court state such extreme views,” she said, “views that are starkly out of mainstream American thought.” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., joined in, decrying Brown’s view that property rights have suffered in relation to civil rights since the Depression’s New Deal, and belittling her statement that her speeches were merely attempts to stir the pot. “Justice Brown’s speeches do more than stir the pot,” Durbin said. “They knock it off the stove.” Brown’s San Francisco staff said Thursday that the justice would have no comment about the committee vote or statements about her. But Hatch and Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, rose to her defense during the hearing. Craig said he didn’t find the views expressed by Brown during speeches hyperbolic, “but rather ringing statements of what our Founding Fathers believed were the basic American values. These are words of great American eloquence.” Hatch, meanwhile, argued that Brown was not anti-government. “She’s made that clear,” he said. “She is just concerned about the fact that government is regulating more and more aspects of our lives.” It wasn’t clear Thursday when Hatch would call Brown’s confirmation before the full Senate, but he could do it at just about any time. If Brown is filibustered, she will join nominees Estrada, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, Mississippi U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering and Alabama Attorney General William Pryor in not receiving an up-or-down vote. Estrada withdrew earlier this year, while Pryor, nominated to Atlanta’s 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was again blocked by a Senate vote Thursday. Democratic and Republican sources on Capitol Hill also confirmed reports Thursday that GOP senators plan to kick off what one called a “30-hour judge-a-thon” from late Wednesday through early Friday. They say it will involve extended debate on judicial nominations, focusing on the situations of Brown, Owen, Pryor, Pickering and Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl, a nominee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose status is in limbo. While Democratic sources called the event a “stunt” to make the Democrats look bad, a Republican source said it was aimed at trying to “start debate” on the nominees and “get their records before the public.” The Associated Press and Jonathan Groner, editor at large at Washington, D.C.’s Legal Times , an affiliate of The Recorder and law.com, contributed to this report.

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