WASHINGTON — Most Republicans boycotted the hearing Wednesday for President Barack Obama's first judicial nominee, allowing Democrats to pitch softballs to David Hamilton in his quest for a seat on a Midwestern appeals court.
The committee will not vote on the nomination for several weeks. But with Republicans complaining of inadequate preparation time, the hearing signaled a rocky beginning to Obama's attempt to remake the federal judiciary.
Hamilton, a U.S. district judge from Indiana, has issued a number of controversial rulings in more than 1,100 opinions and nearly 15 years on the bench. He struck down the use of sectarian prayer to open the Indiana legislature and also ruled against a state law that required a woman seeking abortion services to receive counseling from her doctor. The counseling was required at least 18 hours before the procedure.