The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Supreme Nomination

The unfortunate death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has opened up still another wedge issue for both Dems and the GOP. In this case, the GOP and many of it presidential candidates were wrong to suggest that Barack Obama not propose a nominee for the Court or to suggest that any nominee be rejected out of hand. Obama has a right under the Constitution to propose a nominee, and the Senate has an equivalent right under the Constitution to assess the nominee in depth and reject that person for cause. That's the way it should work.

Barack Obama has been hyperpartisan throughout his presidency, avoiding any realistic compromise with the Congress (think: Obamacare, annual budgets), so there is little reason to believe that he will select a Supreme Court nominee who can earn bipartisan support. But it is possible that Obama will make a rare good decision and nominate a respected jurist with moderate positions on many issues—a person who might lean right sometimes and left at other times. It's also possible that Obama will avoid his penchant for nominating "diversity" candidates instead of the best candidate. What the United States simply does not need is a transgender, mixed race, disabled judge with a mediocre record who does check off every "diversity" box. Diversity should not be the guiding criterion for a Supreme Court Justice.

In my view, we all should wait and see who this president nominates. If the nominee has the record, the temperament, and an ideology that is exemplary, he or she deserves a fair hearing. But if Obama does what Obama almost always does and nominates a judge that has consistently demonstrated political partisanship in his or her rulings, that nominee should be rejected out of hand.

For those on the Left who are already polishing the meme that the GOP congress will once again be "obstructionists" on this issue, I would suggest a look back at recent history.

According to American Thinker:
in August 1960, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a resolution, S.RES. 334, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that the president should not make recess appointments to the Supreme Court, except to prevent or end a breakdown in the administration of the Court’s business.” Each of President Eisenhower’s SCOTUS appointments had initially been a recess appointment who was later confirmed by the Senate, and the Democrats were apparently concerned that Ike would try to fill any last-minute vacancy that might arise with a recess appointment.

In 1987, GOP President Ronald Regan nominated Robert Bork, a conservative jurist with eminent credentials as a legal scholar, to the Supreme court. After a vicious confirmation process, a Democrat congress rejected his nomination. The Democrats, supported by their media friends (they weren't yet trained hamsters), offered no apology for their actions.

In 1991, GOP President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarance Thomas, an conservative jurist who happened to be an African American to the Supreme court. After a vicious confirmation process, in which a Democrat congress conducted lengthy hearing that Thomas himself publicly characterized as a "lynching," he was finally confirmed.

In 2001, from Wikipedia:
Miguel Angel Estrada Castañeda (born September 25, 1961) is an attorney who became embroiled in controversy following his 2001 nomination by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Senate Democrats, claiming Estrada was a conservative ideologue with no experience as a judge, and unable to block his nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Republican Party took control of the Senate in 2002, used a filibuster to prevent his nomination from being given a final confirmation vote by the full Senate.

And this, from a speech offered by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

ABCNews reports:
On January 29, 2006, Mr. Obama told George Stephanopulos on "This Week" that he would "be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know. When you look at his decisions in particular during times of war, we need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch, and he has not shown himself willing to do that repeatedly."

Given these examples of how the Democrats (and Barack Obama!) treat nominees (and presidents) who they don't like, I would suggest that they spare us all the phony moral outrage that is sure to surface when the GOP delays or rejects an unacceptable nominee.