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Feingold on Torture Judge: "Grounds for Impeachment"

By       Message John Nichols     Permalink
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The Beat
posted  on 04/21/2009 @ 10:54pm

Torture memo author Jay Bybee, who outlined procedures for inflicting cruel and unusual punishments on prisoners in U.S. custody, should of course be impeached and removed from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals bench.

But how did Bybee, who was either inept or corrupt, win Senate approval to serve as a federal judge?

As it happens, it was not easy.

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Former President Bush appointed Bybee, an aggressively ideological assistant attorney general to a position on the nation's largest appellate court on May 22, 2002.

Because Bybee was already a highly controversial figure, a narrowly Democratic Senate refused to act on the nomination that year.

Bybee's nomination died when it was "returned without action" in December, 2002.

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Control of the Senate shifted from the Democrats to Bush's Republicans in January, 2003, and Bush immediately resubmitted the nomination.

A month later, the Senate Judiciary Committee split on the nomination, with 10 Republicans and 2 Democrats backing it while 6 Democrats were opposed. So, with a 12-6 endorsement, Bybee's nomination went to the full Senate.

The full Senate vote came on March 13, 2003, when Bybee was confirmed by a vote of 74-19.

Who cast the "no" votes?

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Robert Byrd (D-WV)

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Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

Jon Corzine (D-NJ)

Mark Dayton (D-MN)

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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