Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Last Bastion

The only part of the federal government standing between the country and a dictatorship has been the federal courts. Congress has spent the last five plus years giving the Emperor additional powers to the point that the legislative branch has in effect ceded its role in government to the White House. Only the courts have dug in their heels against the Emperor's over reaching, but some members of the bench (appointed by the White House and approved by the GOP controlled Senate) have not been so forthright. Because the Senate has caved on those appointments, the President has continued to nominate individuals from the far right to the bench. Today the NY Times takes issue with the latest nomination.

...any message about the importance of interparty cooperation has not reached the White House’s judicial selection team or Republican leaders in the Senate. The latest judicial nominee they have dug in their heels to defend is a far-right lawyer who received a unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. The Bush administration should withdraw his nomination and four others that are in limbo, and replace them with nominees who do not appeal exclusively to the most extreme wing of the Republican Party.

Michael Wallace, a former lawyer for Senator Trent Lott, the Mississippi Republican, has been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, based in New Orleans. Mr. Wallace has a long record of insensitivity to civil rights. He argued in favor of letting Bob Jones University, which discriminated on the basis of race, keep its tax-exempt status, and he has a troubling record on voting rights. When the A.B.A. interviewed 69 lawyers and judges who knew him, it heard repeatedly that he was hostile to poor people and minorities. Of the 69, more than one-third expressed “grave concerns” about his judicial temperament.

...Given that track record, a unanimous finding of “not qualified” should set off alarm bells. Instead, Senator Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee chairman, has been trying to make the A.B.A. the focus. Disturbingly, he is talking about requiring it to divulge to the Senate the confidential interviews it conducts about nominees. That could undermine the A.B.A.’s ability to evaluate judges, since it could discourage lawyers from speaking freely.
[Emphasis added]

Senator Specter, who likes to present himself as a maverick who will stand up to the White House, has proved himself to be anything but. For all his brave talk, he has caved in to the regime time after time after time. His attempt to attack the ABA in this matter is proof of that.

Democrats have not been doing their job either. The refusal to filibuster the most outrageous of nominations for the federal bench, including those to the Supreme Court, has shown unbelievable cowardice in the face of the White House arrogation of power. This isn't about bipartisanship, nor is it about the right of a sitting President to appoint judges who share his political philosophy. No one, including the President, has the right to shelve democratic principles.

The people of Connecticut took out an incumbent for being too cozy with the President. The people of the rest of the country are fully capable of doing the same thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're sadly right on target, and especially as the threat to the ABA.

As to 'No one, including the President, has the right to shelve democratic principles.' The Pres. takes an oath of office to uphold and defend the constitution, he is doubly a criminal to violate its laws.

from Ruth

4:49 AM  

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