After the lame duck session, the dems will be putting their foot down on some of the more extremist judicial picks. Even during this lame-duck session, the 4 most extremist judicial picks have lost any chance for appointments. Hallelujah!
The impending Democratic takeover of the Senate, lawmakers and administration officials agree, will produce a vast change in an area that has produced some of the sharpest partisan battles in recent years: President Bush’s effort to shape the federal bench with conservative judicial nominees.
There is a strong consensus that the four most conservative of Mr. Bush’s nominations to the federal appeals courts are doomed. Republicans and Democrats say the four have no chance of confirmation in the next several weeks of the lame-duck Congressional session or in the final two years of Mr. Bush’s term.
The nominees are William J. Haynes II, the Pentagon’s chief lawyer who was responsible for the much-criticized military interrogation policies; William G. Myers III, a longtime lobbyist for the mining and ranching industries and a critic of environmental regulations; Terrence W. Boyle, a district court judge in North Carolina; and Michael B. Wallace of Mississippi, a lawyer who was rated unqualified for the court by the American Bar Association.
So, as the NYTimes headline suggests, there is some uncertainty of judicial picks. Will Bush continue to pick extremist-right ideologues that will impose upon the people their ideals, or will he pick jurists that reflect a more "even" interpretation of the Constitution?
At the end of this article, Neil A. Lewis, brings up an interesting strategy, that was developed by the repubs.
In the last two years of a presidency, Professor Yalof said, “The priority for the party not in control of the White House is not so much in stopping candidates based on their ideologies, but keeping as many vacancies open as possible on the theory that the next president may be someone of your party and will be able to fill those slots.”
If the Democrats follow that model, he said, they will be following the playbook of the Republicans, who blocked most of Mr. Clinton’s appeals court nominees in his last two years in office.
Would this strategy be in the best interest of the people as well as the party? Would dems even consider this strategy?
During the first 6 years of the Bush administration, Bush had unfettered control of judicial nominees appointment. The GOP, through Frist, brought us threats of a nuclear option several times and pushed extremists onto the bench at all levels of the federal judicial system. In fact, very few judicial nominees were ever turned away, and Bush has enjoyed having the most judicial nominees appointed. Throughout all this, no matter how loudly the dems argued, and groups worked to engage their bases to contact senators to vote against confirming nominees, these extremists were appointed anyway. Be reminded that we are not just talking about the Supreme Court of the US, this includes Federal Court of Appeals and Federal District Courts which decide thousands more cases than SCOTUS.
Earlier this year, Sen. Kennedy wrote an op ed piece lamenting the disintegration of the judicial confirmation process, that had be so convoluted by the GOP ruling-elite. Anybody that followed the judicial nominee process knew that the GOP convoluted the process, and took advantage of their ruling status, to the detriment of the people.
I bring this up, because in order for the dems to bring back any sort of credibility to the judicial system they must address the confirmation process at the same time they address the more extremist nominees. No longer can dems sit in either the Judicial Committee or the full senate, and allow the Bush administration to obstruct the process, as they have done in the past. This obstructionism is usually accomplished through withholding of documents, and this tactic has not been limited to judicial nominees. It is this point that Lewis misses all together, and is, I believe, more important than the actual nominees.
While Specter is correct, in that the pResident can nominate anyone he likes, it is, and has always been, his responsibility to nominate justices that will uphold the US Constitution, and not be judicial reactivists.
What needs to be watched is not only the sort of judicial nominees Bush may nominate, but more importantly, his penchant to obstruct the confirmation process.