The judicial quandry or quagmire

Hugh Hewitt, in Lead the Way: Senate Republicans may not understand the true stakes in the coming judicial showdown. (Daily Standard 05ap14) identifies just what the country is up against in interviews with the leaders of the minority party’s judicial activism.

In recent days I interviewed Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, and Ralph Neas, executive director of People for the American Way. Together these two are the architects of the policy of unyielding obstruction by Democrats of George Bush’s judicial nominees. It is difficult to overstate their influence on the Democratic caucus: They are widely considered to be the hands steering Democratic policy on judges.

Both blew the usual rhetorical smoke about how well President Bush is doing with his judicial nominations–Bush has by far the lowest approval rate to the appeals court for modern times for a president three months into his second term. And both used the same talking points on all the blocked nominees, including the risible assertion that Democrats had no idea Bill Pryor was a Roman Catholic until Senator Hatch asked him. The transcripts provide a summary of the threadbare case against the blockaded judges, and far from a persuasive one.

This honest declaration of intention from the captains of the left’s blockade is as clear a signal to the Republican leadership that now is the time to break the filibuster via a ruling from the chair that the use of the filibuster on judicial nominees is out of order, and a majority vote to uphold the rule. Both Aron and Neas concede that all of the Bush nominees have majority support. Aron goes so far as to bluntly assert the right for 41 senators to block nominees, a position that will harden into practice if it is not repudiated now.

The is perhaps one of the most important domestic issues on the front burner today. The question is whether the judiciary should be subject to a veto of the minority. Such a veto is normally reserved for a very small and well defined set of issues. Should that small defined set be expanded to include other, non specified issues?

Comments are closed.