Conservative activists have been gearing up for today's confirmation hearing for nominees for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They've focused their fire on Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor who's been nominated to be a commissioner and who's been an advocate for the disabled and for gays and lesbians.
The hearing, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, turned out to be much less dramatic.
Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) didn’t give Republicans the first shot at Feldblum’s most controversial positions. He asked as one of his first questions why she signed a statement called “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage” that, among other things, called for the legal acceptance of “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.”
“In all those years I worked with you, I didn’t know you supported polygamy,” Harkin said jokingly. He has sought Feldblum’s advice on the Americans with Disabilities Act and other issues.
Feldblum replied that she does not believe in polygamy. “I’m sorry I signed that document, and I have asked that my name be removed,” she said, adding that it was a “mistake” to sign it.
Republicans didn’t exactly pounce on the line of questioning. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said in his opening statement that all of the nominees who appeared today are qualified. Still, Feldblum is likely to encounter greater resistance in the full Senate, where other controversial nominees have waited for as long as eight months.
The other nominees who appeared today were Jacqueline Berrien, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, nominated for EEOC chair; Seyfarth Shaw of counsel Victoria Lipnic for a commissioner slot; and P. David Lopez, an EEOC trial attorney in Arizona, for the commission’s general counsel. Click here for the video and testimony.