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Nominations, please

I sure hope that while President Obama was in town, someone asked him if he ever intends to nominate a US Attorney for Texas?

Justice goes on, but Obama could have used those prosecutor jobs to build a farm team that helps Texas Democrats rebuild, instead of leaving them filled by unknown career lawyers. That suggests he may get an earful about botched opportunities when he arrives Monday in Austin and Dallas to raise campaign cash.

“They’re absolutely missing an opportunity, and have missed an opportunity that can’t be recaptured,” said Dallas lawyer Matt Orwig, who spent six years under George W. Bush as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, which includes Plano. “Look at the number who become judges. The number of congressional candidates across the country, or who have become senators. … It’s totally puzzling that they’ve been so passive and inattentive,” he said.

Tussles between Texas’ senators, both Republican , and the state’s Democrats in the U.S. House certainly caused some of the delay, but both sides long ago submitted lists of preferred nominees that largely overlap. While most states have gotten Obama nominees, Texas is still waiting. The White House has consistently denied to discuss any aspect of the issue.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, has made no secret of his irritation at the White House over the delays. Sen. John Cornyn noted that disagreements with the Democrats – notably, over the Dallas-based prosecutor job – “have been in the minority of cases. … I’m as frustrated as anyone else that the White House has been so slow.”

Cornyn’s frustration is more than a little precious, given how the Republicans in the Senate have stalled, snagged, and slow-walked pretty much all of Obama’s nominees. He has had fewer district and appeals court judges approved than any of his recent predecessors, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. If Obama nominated Cornyn’s top four choices tomorrow, who knows when or even if they’d get a confirmation vote. Having said all that, Obama has been bizarrely, bafflingly slow across the board in nominations. I’m far from the only person to wonder what the hell is up with that. So I do hope that the President got multiple earfuls about this while he was here, every word of which he deserved.

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