Last week it seemed almost inevitable that Hans Von Spakovsky, a nominee to the Federal Election Commission and former Justice Department employee with a track record of minority voter suppression, would sail through the Senate after he was reported out of the Rules and Administration Committee in a block with the other three FEC nominees. Sen. Mitch McConnell wanted the group of four voted on as a package in the full Senate as well and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid looked to be acquiescing to these demands.
The Unanimous Consent vote was expected to happen today but a group of Democrats, led by Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Barack Obama, has decided to throw a wrench into these plans. Feingold and Obama are not only demanding that Von Spakovsky receive a separate vote from the other FEC candidates — much like Bradley Smith did back in 2000 — but that he reach the 60 vote threshold that has become increasingly the norm in the Senate. Sources say that other Senators are joining this cause including Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Sherrod Brown. I wrote last week that we should "hope the Senate will try to restore some respect for the commission and find a way to block this nomination," and apparently some Senators are willing to do so. Good for them.