Clifford Stanley and Chai Feldblum Senate Hearings: Recaps
As I mentioned yesterday, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission nominee Chai Feldblum had her hearing at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Clifford Stanley had a confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee.
First Clifford Stanley's hearing. Stanley has been nominated to serve as Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in the Department of Defense and oversee "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", among other things.
HRC Backstory reports on the questions regarding the military gay ban, following John McCain's assertion that the ban was "Working successfully":
"Senator Levin followed McCain’s pro-DADT position by asking simply if Dr. Stanley would provide his best objective opinion over the repeal of DADT, to which Dr. Stanley responded with a simple yes. An opportunity to elaborate was provided with Senator Udall (D-CO), who asked – while noting gays and lesbians already serve in the armed services, and that thousands of gays and lesbians are civilian employees working with military personnel – if Dr. Stanley was prepared to support a push by the White House to include repeal of DADT in policy recommendations in the defense budget next year. Dr. Stanley didn’t quite answer the question, recognizing this is a sensitive issue and that he would be seeking input from all sources, particularly the service chiefs and military personnel “from deck plate to squad level,” and provide a recommendation to Secretary Gates. Dr. Stanley admitted he did not know what that recommendation would be, and will bear no preconceived notions as to the direction he will go in recommending action on DADT. Senator Burris (D-IL) asked what Dr. Stanley would do about pending discharge cases immediately upon confirmation. Dr. Stanley – correctly – responded that the pending cases would fall under existing statute, and that he was unaware that he would have any role in these pending discharge cases (he wouldn’t)."
The Servicemember's Legal Defense Network (SLDN) expressed disappointment that Stanley "punted". Said Aubrey Sarvis: "When given the opportunity by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to support his commander in chief’s position to overturn the ban, Dr. Stanley did not do so. However, as is the case with most nominees, Dr. Stanley did not delve into any of the policy issues in his portfolio. We look forward to Dr. Stanley becoming fully aligned with President Obama on repeal."
A question about polygamy was the highlight of Feldblum's testimony, according to Law Dork, with regard to a petition the nominee had signed called “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships” which mentioned polygamous families as an "alternative" relationship:
Feldblum began, initially, by stating unambiguously, “I do not support polygamy.” She went on to say that it was a “mistake” to sign the petition and told the Committee that it was for that reason that she asked for her name to be removed from it. Ben Smith at Politico reported on Wednesday that Feldblum had sent a letter to the petition organizers asking that her name be removed.
Harkin pushed further, asking her to explain why she had signed on to the statement in the first place. Feldblum stated that she had been asked to sign on to the petition by “another academic from Columbia.” She said, “I agreed with the general thrust of the statement,” and that her work at the time was very focused on efforts to “support the range of caregiving relationships.” It was for that reason, she said, that she signed on in support of the petition.
She concluded, though, “However, the statement goes beyond what I would have said. That’s why it was a mistake to sign it and why I asked for my name to be removed.”