Nomination of Jonathan Adelstein to FCC seen ‘dead for this year’
Word from Capitol Hill is that the nomination of Democrat Jonathan Adelstein to the FCC quite likely is dead for this year. Senate Republicans, still feuding with Democrats over judicial nominations, have placed anonymous holds on Adelstein’s nomination—even after his July approval for a floor vote by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
A “hold” is a request by a senator to the party leadership asking that a certain measure not be taken up on the floor. Typically, a hold serves as a bargaining chip to force the leadership to call up another piece of legislation.
Adelstein is a former aide of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), long a lightning rod for Republican complaints for stalling congressional action. More recently, the partisan feuding exploded into outright accusations after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) pulled from consideration the nomination of Dennis Shedd—a former top aide to Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.)—to a federal judgeship.
The move brought the 99-year-old Thurmond—a 48-year Senate veteran who’s stepping down in January—to the floor to denounce the absent Leahy, who, he said, had promised a vote on Shedd before adjournment.
“I am hurt and disappointed by this egregious act,” Thurmond declared. Earlier this year, Judiciary Committee Democrats defeated the nominations of Federal Judge Charles Pickering and Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owens to the Fourth U.S. Circuit of Appeals.
At this point, all pending judicial and executive nominations, including Adelstein’s, are in doubt. With time running out on this Congress, no Judiciary Committee meetings scheduled to consider nominations and the election looming, it’s unlikely a compromise will be reached.
The White House posted the nomination of Adelstein last February to complete the remainder of a five-year FCC term that expires next June 30.
(American Radio Relay League Letter)