Johnson Will Block Judicial Nominee He Recommended?
Credit: Getty Images - Chip Somodevilla
February 18, 2022

In June of 2021, Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson recommended the name of Judge William Pocan to the White House for filling the vacant federal seat for the Wisconsin East District. William Pocan is the brother of U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, and like his brother, is openly gay.

Pocan was to have his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Baldwin had already submitted her "blue slip," indicating that she was still recommending Pocan for the position. But late Tuesday, RoJo threw a monkey wrench into the works, without warning, and indicated that he no longer supported Pocan. Instead of offering a rationale, he only offered excuses and obfuscations:

Johnson said in a statement he has been "hearing concerns from the Green Bay legal community that they needed a judge who is locally based and actively involved in their community. That is not the case with Judge Pocan."

In the unusually worded statement, Johnson then pivoted and said: "In addition, the tragedy in Waukesha never should have happened."

[...]

"I cannot support someone for a lifetime appointment that has granted low bail for someone charged with violent felonies," Johnson said. "That is not in the best interest of Wisconsinites nor Americans. I look forward to working with President Biden on selecting a suitable nominee.”

While it's true that Pocan is currently working in Milwaukee County, RoJo knew this when he made the recommendation.

The reference to Waukesha was regarding the tragic incident where a driver plowed into a Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring scores of others. The driver had been out on a very low bail. However, Pocan had absolutely nothing to do with that case.

RoJo's spokesperson confirmed this fact and offered another reason that was just as baseless as the first two:

Pocan had nothing to do with the Waukesha tragedy. Johnson spokesperson Alexa Henning acknowledged as much to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Instead, Henning pointed to a 2015 case, State of Wisconsin v. Davario D. Washington, in which she said Pocan granted a low bail to an individual charged with violent felonies. But even in that case, CNN reported that a transcript of the bail hearing showed that Pocan sided with the prosecutor who was seeking to increase the defendant’s bail to $5,000, according to the AP.

So, why the sudden reversal? The likeliest reason is that RoJo is doing the same thing he always does. He's again endangering public safety for the sake of trying to score a couple of cheap political points, continuing the Republican trope of Democrats being soft on crime. But if that's the case, it's laughable considering the extent he's gone to to try to protect the treasonous former guy, including voting twice not to impeach him in the face of compelling evidence.

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