Congress again postpones Lipstadt's confirmation

Although her nomination was the first item on the agenda, chairman Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) decided to pull her name at the last minute.

US academic Deborah Lipstadt (C) exults 11 April 2000 the High Court in London after winning a libel case brought against her and Penguin publications by British revisionist historian David Irving. (photo credit: MARTIN HAYHOW / AFP)
US academic Deborah Lipstadt (C) exults 11 April 2000 the High Court in London after winning a libel case brought against her and Penguin publications by British revisionist historian David Irving.
(photo credit: MARTIN HAYHOW / AFP)

WASHINGTON – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee again postponed a vote to confirm Deborah Lipstadt to serve as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

Although her nomination was the first item on the agenda, chairman Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) decided to pull her name at the last minute together with the nomination of Barbara Leaf to serve as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs.

Menendez confirmed that the decision not to vote on Lipstadt and Leaf on Wednesday was because there were not enough Democrats in the room to secure a majority over Republican objection.

“Unfortunately, Republicans are lined up to vote against her, and several of our Democratic colleagues are at the Judiciary Committee with [Ketanji Brown Jackson’s] nomination to the Supreme Court, and Senator Shaheen is still in quarantine [due to] COVID,” said Menendez. “So I wanted to make sure we have the votes to pass her out of the committee. And since Republicans are lined up against her – they weren’t going to give us any votes – we had to move forward” without the vote.

Menendez said that he was confident Lipstadt would be confirmed at another date.

 US PRESIDENT Joe Biden at the White House this week – tough decision to make.  (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS) US PRESIDENT Joe Biden at the White House this week – tough decision to make. (credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

President Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate Lipstadt at the end of July, eight months ago, but her nomination has been stalled since.

Earlier this month, the committee voted on 11 nominations but postponed the vote on Lipstadt and Leaf. The reason for the delay in Lipstadt’s confirmation was a request by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), who objects to the nomination.

“At a time when the United States and its allies are working to put every conceivable pressure on Putin to stop his unprovoked brutal and illegal war against Ukraine, we have to have these nominees in place,” Menendez said during the hearing earlier this month. “This game is costing us. For all of my friends who love to wave the flag of how important it is to be leading the rest of the world and how forward-looking we should be – you’re not helping the cause. You don’t like a candidate? Vote against them. But this process of just holding and holding and holding makes no sense whatsoever.”

Johnson announced his objection over a past tweet with a news story about him titled “Senator Johnson slammed as ‘white nationalist sympathizer’ after race remarks.” Lipstadt shared the article a year ago on Twitter and added, “This is white supremacy/nationalism. Pure and simple.”