On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Michael J. Truncale of Texas as the United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas by a vote of 49-46.
The vote was mostly along party lines in the upper chamber, with Sens. Cassidy, R-La., Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kennedy, R-La., Rounds, R-S.D., not voting; there was, however, one party defection, as Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted with Democrats against the nominee.
For Romney, it wasn’t a matter of jurisprudence or legal qualifications, but remarks made about former Democratic President Obama Truncale made in 2011, calling him an “un-American imposter.”
In a written response to questions from Senate Judiciary Committee Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Truncale said that the comments were some of many made while in previous “capacities as a candidate for the United States Congress or as a political commentator” and that such opinions would be inappropriate for a judge to express.
Back in 2011, Truncale threw his hat into the political ring and ran for Congress in a crowded field to replace the outgoing congressman and then-Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
“I will note that it is possible, however,” Truncale later added in his response to Feinstein, “that I was merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama.”
However, that explanation just didn’t cut it for Romney, who told Politico after the vote that he voted against Truncale in defense of Obama, citing his own 2012 presidential run against the Chicago Democrat.
“He made particularly disparaging comments about President Obama. And as the Republican nominee for president, I just couldn’t subscribe to that in a federal judge,” Romney told the outlet. “This was not a matter of qualifications or politics; this was something specifically to that issue as a former nominee of our party.”