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September 06, 2002

Rhetoric and Nominations

It's all part of the game, as conservatives vent with Casablanca-style outrage that they are shocked, shocked to find politics involved in the judicial nominations process. See here for one example. Now, if Bush was regularly sending up Lani Guinier lefties in his mix of rightwing nominees, this whole rhetorical debate wouldn't be so silly. But Bush is picking judges because they are hard-line pro-life and pro-corporate and the Dems are knocking them down for the same reason-- "advise and consent" at its best. The inevitable result is not gridlock, since the Dems have approved many of Bush's more moderate nominees-- it just means that the most conservative judges get knocked out, just as the Gingrich-Dole Congress knocked off any of Clinton's more liberal nominees. The result is no doubt a blander judiciary, but that's what the voters ordered when they voted in divided government. The third branch is inevitably going to reflect the same stalemate.

Posted by Nathan at September 6, 2002 10:03 AM

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Comments

The voters did not choose a divided government. They chose a Democratic President and a Senate that would have been Democratic even without Jeffords.

Posted by: citizen k at September 7, 2002 09:18 PM

Hey- I'm down with the Bush as illegitimate President thing, but the reality is that the American voters have not given any President a majority of the vote since Bush Pere back in 1988. We have essentially stalemate votes in Congress and the President, which does translate into hand-to-hand combat over nominations to the third branch of government.

Posted by: Nathan at September 7, 2002 10:02 PM

Ok. Just a friendly reminder. But, I think it is hand to hand combat for the repubs only, the democrats don't know how to fight. How come this even came for a vote? The repubs refused to even schedule hearings for most of Clinton's appointments. The result is that the Dems fight pitched, exhausting battles on the way over the edge wingnuts, and the ones in the mainstream of the far right sail through. If Lyndon Johnson was the majority leader, none of those people would be scheduled for a vote and the hearings would leave those wingnuts ready to quit public life and find a place to retire to.

Posted by: citizen k at September 7, 2002 10:58 PM

citizen k--
Actually, if the voters' will had been respected, the Senate would have been Republican, because Lieberman would have had to resign and his replacement would have been appointed by a Republican.

But Nathan, you miss the point here. The Republicans did not pick off the most liberal of Clinton's appointees. In many states they just blocked them all. That was unconscionable, unpatriotic, and disgusting.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at September 9, 2002 08:46 AM

Thing is, the Republican nominee would have been booted out soon afterwards for his child molestation.

And Matt is right - the Republicans simply stood in the way, in some cases, of any judicial nominees getting through. What I also love is the Washington Times' useless comparison of the first two years of judicial nominee approval.

Posted by: jesse at September 9, 2002 09:52 AM

Matt is exactly right. In the 9th Circuit, the Reeps just refused to hold hearings for everyone. There were centrist nominees, nominees from big corporate law firms, that hung out for 2 years or more with no hearing. The Reeps didn't have any stated objections -- they just hung them out to dry. And the Alberto Gonzales has publicly written that the White house does not believe in a bipartisan nomination process.

Posted by: lisse at September 9, 2002 05:45 PM

In the 9th Circuit, the Reeps just refused to hold hearings for everyone. There were centrist nominees, nominees from big corporate law firms, that hung out for 2 years or more with no hearing.

The really great thing was when they would point to a nominee's service on the board of some pro bono legal group as proof that the nominee was a crazed radical, notwithstanding the fact that the nominee spent a career representing big business at a corporate megafirm.

(I work for a corporate megafirm, and I like it, but there aren't a lot of boat-rockers at places like this, my own self included.)

Posted by: alkali at September 9, 2002 06:54 PM

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