President Obama is going on the offensive. The long-game strategist is determined to force congressional Republicans to do their jobs and move the country forward.
Amidst a series of scandals that have the country concerned about government abuse and congressional Republicans anxiously pursuing answers, the president has made three key decisions that are sure to incite another round of Republican obstructionism, highlight his commitment to diversity in government, and spotlight the failure of Republican outreach programs.
Obama announced the simultaneous nomination of three candidates to fill the vacant seats of what is thought to be the second highest court in the nation. The wait time for judicial appointments has tripled since Obama took office. Obama signified the importance of the announcement in a formal Rose Garden ceremony. Rose Garden ceremonies are normally reserved for Supreme Court and cabinet-level appointments. Obama intends to force the Republicans to show their hand and obstruct the dutiful appointment of qualified bi-partisan minority and women candidates to the judicial bench. Patricia Ann Millet served 11 years as an assistant solicitor general under presidents Clinton and Bush. She has argued more Supreme Court cases than any other woman and is one of the most powerful women in Washington. Robert Wilkins currently serves as a judge on the United States District Court in Washington. He was confirmed in 2010 without Republican objection. In 1995 the African American judge sparked a series of racial profiling class action suits after he received a $95,000 settlement in a lawsuit against the Maryland state police department. He has been named one of the 90 greatest lawyers in the last 30 years by Legal Times. Cornelia Pillard directs the Supreme Court Institute as a Georgetown University professor is well known for work on gender discrimination and work place issues. Obama’s nominees, two women and an African-American, reflects his commitment to diversifying the judicial bench and challenges the GOP senator, in light of their woeful outreach programs, to do the same.
Obama announced that Rice will replace Tom Donilon as national security adviser. The position does not require Senate confirmation. The promotion makes Rice a central and critical part of Obama’s foreign policy team. Rice is a Rhodes Scholar and holds a doctorate from Oxford University. She was mentored by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. The former UN Ambassador was once considered a frontrunner for secretary of state but came under fire as the spokesperson that delivered the talking points memo on the Benghazi attack. Rice has since been vindicated by a series of emails released by the White House and statements made by several CIA officials involved in the construction of the talking points. The appointment of Rice to the powerful position is a direct slap in the face to Republicans who fought against her potential nomination and an example of Obama’s commitment to diversity at the most senior levels of his administration.
Continuing with his theme of appointing well-qualified female candidates to senior positions, Obama nominated Samantha Power to replace Rice as UN Ambassador. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist is an expert on human rights violations and a strong advocate of women and LGBTQ rights. Power’s journalism background should help the administration which has come under fire for its alleged misuse of power resulting from the lawful subpoena of AP phone records and Fox News emails. If confirmed Power would be “the most influential former journalist in government.” In the Capital wrote “Power's move to the UN suggests Obama is seeking to make good on his promises to be a more responsible and compassionate international actor.”