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Media types bring it on home

By Al Kamen
Friday, June 18, 2010; A26

The congressional women's softball team led in the early innings at Guy Mason Park on Wednesday night until the media team rallied for a 13-7 win before a raucous crowd that included Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House GOP leader John Boehner and much of the House leadership on both sides.

The lawmakers relied on stellar pitching from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) to build their lead. The media players were held scoreless through three innings by Gillibrand's baffling sinker. She brushed off the opposition's efforts to rattle her with chants of "David Paterson," the tarnished New York governor who appointed her.

It didn't hurt that the hurlers were backed by superb fielding from shortstop Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Shelley Moore "Rocket Arm" Capito (R-W.Va.) at third and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) at second. Power-hitting, sparked by a lead-off, stand-up double by Wasserman Schultz in the bottom of the first, staked the members to a 5-2 lead through four.

The lawmakers were up 7-4 until the top of the sixth, when the media bats, aided by some walks and errors, came alive. They exploded for four runs in the sixth -- after Kasie Hunt of Politico and Emily Ortman of Roll Call smoked back-to-back doubles to center field -- and then added five more runs in the seventh.

The reporters fumed as some controversial base-running and other calls went for the House members -- but there were no bench-clearing brawls. (They write the rules, but we write the stories.)

Catcher Trish Turner, a Fox News producer who had never played competitive softball, was named the most valuable player for the winners for two great outs at the plate and then for mowing down Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), the catcher, in a dramatic play at home.

Markey took an awesome hit from Turner in stride, but the ball popped out of her glove, allowing Turner to score.

The House members named themselves all most valuable players.

The charity game in Glover Park raised $5,000 from an estimated 500 fans for the Young Survival Coalition for women younger than 40 who have breast cancer.

We hear that the extensive pregame trash talk continued after the game as the politicians took to grousing and spinning that the only reason they lost was because the press played college kids as ringers.

The media types, citing the line-up cards, insist that's false. They countered that the home plate umpire, Frank Cushing, turned out to be a lobbyist and former staff director for the House appropriations committee.

A special prosecutor will be appointed as soon as the BP hearings are over.

Judgeship has sailed

So you're out there in your big law office -- rich, bored and slow filling out your White House vetting forms for that judgeship? Your nomination still hasn't gone up to the Senate? Well, pal, you can pull out that new black robe hanging in your closet and kiss it goodbye.

Ain't gonna happen for you -- at least not this year.

Even if the White House sends up your nomination today, the Senate calendar is likely to kill your bid for the job. The Elena Kagan Supreme Court nomination hearings are set for the week of June 28. The senators are off the next week for the Fourth of July. They return in mid-July for four weeks and then they are off until after Labor Day, when about one-third of them will be worried about their political futures, not yours.

Worse, the politics are not on your side. Back in the day, not all that long ago, if a non-controversial district court nominee came up in June, there'd be every chance of getting a hearing and maybe confirmation by fall. But those days are pretty much over as both parties stall nominees.

For example, a Democratic Senate confirmed 100 judges under President George W. Bush in his first two years, including even more controversial folks such as Judge Dennis Shedd. Shedd was confirmed 55 to 44 in November 2002, only five days after he got to the floor of the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Then the Democrats blocked judicial nominees, sparking a bitter 2005 Senate battle that ended with a compromise over a possible GOP move that could have denied Democrats the right to filibuster.

More recently, the Republican minority has been stalling nominees, even some who've been sent to the Senate floor with unanimous or near-unanimous judiciary committee approval, such as Albert Diaz and Jim Wynn. Their nominations have been on the floor since late January.

Even if, by some miracle, all 19 of President Obama's nominees still pending in committee as of Thursday, and all 26 pending on the Senate floor, get confirmed, only 76 Obama judges will have been confirmed for the federal bench in his first two years. That's not counting two for the Supreme Court if Kagan is confirmed. (This is in contrast to 100 confirmed in Bush's first two years and 128 in President Bill Clinton's first two years.)

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