It's summer, which means it's time for another showdown over the Senate "nuclear option." Like most phrases coined by Congress, the term "nuclear option" is a drama-queen overstatement, referring to the majority taking away the minority's right to filibuster the president's nominees. Senate Republicans and Democrats have already struck a deal to avert this not-actually-that-cataclysmic outcome and it contains a very important concession by the GOP:
Under the proposal, President Barack Obama would pull two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board — Sharon Block and Richard Griffin — and replace them with two nominees who could receive Senate votes quickly.
Votes on the other five nominees would be allowed to go forward – including Cabinet nominations such as Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator and Thomas Perez as Labor secretary. (Emphasis added.)
Trying to stop Perez may have been a lost cause anyways. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, Democrats have allegedly lured enough Republicans into voting for him to clear the 60-vote threshold. But either way, Perez's confirmation will be unfortunate. As Quin Hillyer and I have both documented, Perez is an unabashed activist lawyer and race baiter who weaponized the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and turned it into a conduit for race-based legal complaints, no matter how frivolous or piddling. Examples abound, but my personal favorite is when he went after universities for using Kindle E-Readers, which supposedly discriminate against blind people. Now he can bring his unique brand of legal barnstorming to the Department of Labor.
Final thought: The fact that we're continuing Perez's career and still funding Eric Holder's paycheck are very telling. The president has been through two secretaries of state, two secretaries of the treasury, three secretaries of defense, three secretaries of commerce, two secretaries of transportation...yet Holder, despite taking heavy fire over the Fast and Furious and AP surveillance scandals, has been there from the beginning, and Perez gets to move comfortably to Labor. It seems the safest place to work in America is at the Obama DOJ. Just make sure you cement your status by doing something absurd, like suing a sheriff's office for assigning pregnant corrections officers to desk duty. Yes, Perez actually did that.