April Perry, President Joe Biden’s highly qualified nominee to serve as Chicago’s next top federal prosecutor — who would be the first woman to hold the position — stands ready to serve.
Unfortunately, Ohio’s freshman Republican senator, J.D. Vance, plans to block the vote on her nomination and all other appointments to the Department of Justice until they have passed his own peculiar and highly partisan vetting.
His gripe? Nothing personal, he insists, although it certainly sounds political in the crudest sense.
He’ll hold up Justice Department appointments, he announced in a post on the social network X, formerly Twitter, “until (Attorney General) Merrick Garland stops using his agency to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents.”
“Harass?” That’s Vance’s pointed description of Garland and special counsel Jack Smith doing their jobs, which includes pursuing lawbreakers connected to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, and former President Donald Trump’s unsupported allegations that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
To derail the government’s pursuit — and undoubtedly win favor with the former president who endorsed his election in Ohio — Vance has decided to follow the reckless grandstanding tactics of his fellow Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
Tuberville has been using and, in our view, abusing his senatorial privileges to hold up hundreds of military promotions since January. Well-deserved promotions for those who guard the nation’s security must wait while Tuberville demands an end to what he, among others on the MAGA right, calls the “woke” agenda supposedly creeping into the military.
As the No. 1 federal crime-fighter in this region, the Chicago-based U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois matters. Perry’s nomination also reflects an effort by President Biden and Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin to diversify the ranks of the nation’s federal judges and prosecutors after years of calls for a female U.S. attorney in Chicago.
Those calls only grew stronger when news broke in January that U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. would be leaving.
Leaving the U.S. attorney posts vacant has dire implications for the government’s ability to prosecute violent drug cartels and other important work. Perry, who serves as senior counsel for global investigations and fraud and abuse prevention at GE HealthCare, and the public she is well-prepared to serve deserve better.
As Sen. Durbin aptly said as he confronted the blocking effort in one committee hearing: ”Find another way to protest.”
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