ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Priscilla & Janice Rodgers Brown (or if you're a lib (and prone to looking at everyone according to their ethnic/racial group), a woman and an African-American woman) are both extremely qualified for the job. They both have received the American Bar Associations' highest ratings which used to be one of the main considerations in the past (see Scalia nomination process).


My comments throughout the AP story.

Showdown Nears Over Bush Judicial Nominees
Apr 21, 12:49 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans on Thursday moved closer to a showdown with Democrats over filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees, sending two judges under dispute to the full Senate.

The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee on identical 10-8 partisan votes gave its approval to Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown, who were nominated by Bush for lifetime judgeships on the regional U.S. appeals courts, the nation's second-highest courts.
Does AP normally mention "lifetime" appointments when they disuss judges?

Owen wants to work on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and Brown wants a seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. They were blocked from confirmation by Democratic filibuster threats during Bush's first term but were renominated by the president after he won a second term in November.
They want the jobs? Did they ask Bush and then he appointed them? I thought the President nominated them and then re-nominated them

Democrats say they will block the nominations again because they are too conservative. "They deserved to be rejected before," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "They deserve to be rejected again."
Ahhh, they're too conservative... Unfortunately, you don't provide advice & consent on someone's "political beliefs," you provide advice & consent on their judicial capabilities.

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has threatened to ban judicial filibusters to stop Democrats from blocking the judges again, and has been working to secure the 50 votes he needs from his Republican caucus to make the rules change.

It requires 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

In an attempt to make Republicans reconsider that plan, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has vowed to slow or halt Senate action on much routine business if Frist follows through with his threat to force up-and-down votes in which nominees could be confirmed by a bare majority of the 100-member Senate.
Hey, that's fine with me if they shut the Senate down... not exactly a rip-roaring, fast paced institution in the first place. Oh, and if they do... I think the first order of business should be to introduce a bill to increase pay for troops...

Republicans defended Owen and Brown, saying they were fine judges and Democrats broke with Senate tradition by threatening to filibuster their nominations.

Owen "deserves to be confirmed and she deserves the professional courtesy of an up or down vote," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who served on the Texas Supreme Court with Owen.
Meanwhile, Chuck Shumer (D-NY) said "VOTES?!?! WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING VOTES!!! --- seriously, we fear votes"

GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Brown's home state, said Brown was the type of judge the country needs, who has "a reverence for our Constitution, who will approach these issues with independence, an open mind, a lot of common sense, a willingness to work hard and an ability to communicate clearly and effectively."
No wonder the Dems are blocking these nominees....

Brown now serves on the California Supreme Court.

Democrats have promised to continue to block the nominees they held up during Bush's first term. Democrats blocked 10 judicial nominees from confirmation through filibuster threats. Three withdrew and Bush renominated the rest.

Democrats called Brown and Owen judicial activists who should be stopped before they get lifetime appointments. "The nomination of Janice Rogers Brown is a prime example of a nominee who sees the federal bench as a platform to advance her own extremist views," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

And Owen "is an example of a judge who is very eager to make law from the bench," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee's top Democrat.
Yeah... enforcing a law that requires parental notification for a 14 year old (except in the case of incest) is activist... it would be activist for the justice to override the democratic process

North Carolina judge Terrence W. Boyle, a former aide to retired Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who expected a committee vote as well, was held over after Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., requested extra time to review some of his rulings as a U.S. District judge. Boyle was never filibustered by Democrats because his nomination was blocked in committee by then-North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

Another of Bush's blocked nominees, Idaho lawyer William Myers, already has been approved by the Judiciary Committee. But conservatives would rather see the final showdown come over Brown, Owen or U.S. Appeals Court Judge William Pryor, who was given a temporary appointment by Bush after he was blocked by Democrats.

Pryor's nomination is expected to be advanced by the Judiciary Committee next week.

Conservatives during the last Congress accused Democrats of being anti-minority for blocking Brown, who is black; anti-women for blocking Owen, and anti-Catholic for blocking Pryor.
yep, they did... and the Dems would've made the same accusations if the roles were reversed. If you don't think so, you're an idjit.

Activists plan a similar tactic this year, with Frist planning to deliver a taped message to Christian conservatives on April 24 saying Democrats are "against people of faith" for blocking Bush's nominees.
I look forward to the showdown....let's just hope that the GOP has regained its spine in time.

Brian adds:
St., you did it again. Just as I'm about to comment, I look and there you're already talking about the subject. Let me add my two cents. I just got finished listening to Hannity's 3rd hour, and he had Dick Morris on. Hannity was all for the "nuke it" option, wheras Morris thinks that would be disaster for the Republicans in the polls. I tend to agree. I think the MSM will howl to the moon about how the Republicans have trashed the constitution. Mr. Smith goes to Washington, will be the image of the day, but in reverse. They'll talk about how the Republicans are just for graft and are dictatorial, etc.

Dick's solution is simple. Make Reid, et. al. actually filibuster. Nothing gets done till the nominee is voted for. The 60 votes everybody is talking about is to end the filibuster. Fine. Let the Dem's shutdown the government over Judges. Then the argument is focused on the judges themselves. What is so wrong with them that they shouldn't be confirmed? As you point out in the AP article above, the answer is basically, "they're conservative". Judges was an issue in the 2004 campaign, and certainly factored into Daschle losing his seat. Let the Dem's shutdown the Senate on the confirmation process, not the "rewriting of the Constitution".

Either way though, some action has to be done. This will not wait until 2006. If the Dem's are able to run out the clock that long, then its over for Bush's term. As you can see with the Bolton nomination, the Dem's are jockeying for the left side of their party as they fundraise for '08. They will not give up. The longer we wait, the worse it is for the administration, and the country.

Update (Brian)
: Looks like the folks at Powerline had similar thoughts.
The next election is a year and a half away. If the Republicans in the Senate aren't willing to buck the polls now, when will they be? And how can anyone think that a delay in pursuing the Constitutional option will cause the poll numbers to turn around? It won't. It will merely be perceived as blood in the water that causes the Democratic/media attacks to intensify.
I agree that poll-based fear should not deter the Republicans in this instance. It also occurs to me that if the Republicans could make the Democrats actually filibuster Owen or Brown for an extended period, the public would conclude (a) that the Dems have had their opportunity for full debate and/or (b) that such debate, when undertaken by the Democrats, isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler