|Man Without Qualities
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
A prior post considered the amazingly self-destructive opposition to John Roberts maintained by some Senate Democrats at the behest of their leader, Harry Reid. Although judge Roberts has received some Democratic support (mostly from Senators facing election in swing-states), Senators Boxer, Kennedy, Kerry, Corzine, Feinstein, Biden and Lautenberg are following their leader and opposing Roberts. Now the Washington Post warns Democrats of what Senator Reid's approach actually means, especially the next time a Democratic President attempts to fill a Supreme Court vacancy:
IN ANNOUNCING his opposition yesterday to the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made a remarkable statement: "The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary." ...[T]hese are dangerous words that Democrats will come to regret. ... [I]f the presidential election means anything in this arena, it must mean that the president's choice has a heavy presumption of confirmation. That is the way the system works. ...[D]uring six years of Republican control over the Senate ... the Senate confirmed 245 of President Bill Clinton's judges. If Republicans had been applying Mr. Reid's standard, they would have been within their rights to reject them all. ... Is it now okay for [Democrats] to vote against a person who -- as Mr. Reid put it of Judge Roberts -- is "an excellent lawyer" and "a thoughtful, mainstream judge" who may make "a fine Supreme Court justice" simply because the nominee doesn't represent their ideal? When that day comes, and Democrats cry foul, remember what Mr. Reid said about how little deference he believes he owes Mr. Bush concerning Judge Roberts.As scathing as the Post's take is, by focusing on the next Democratic President the editorial overlooks the damage already done, and being done with every passing hour, to the Democrats' current ability to affect the identity of Sandra O'Connor's replacement. The self-destruction already wrought by Senator Reid is perhaps most clearly seen by imagining him at the Democratic helm if the next confirmation battle results in a filibuster. The Post points out that if the presidential election means anything in this arena, it must mean that the president's choice has a heavy presumption of confirmation. That is the way the system works. Quite correct. And that "system" happens to be the United States Constitution. It is hard to imagine how Senator Reid could have made it any easier for the Senate to declare that judicial filibusters are not permitted by the very same Constitutional system whose workings are opposed by the very same Harry Reid last heard chanting "The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary." His comments have made Nevada Senator Harry Reid the perfect man to play the Senatorial Major T. J. Kong (played by Slim Pickens in the movie), joyously riding from the sky, agendas of liberal pressure groups clutched between his legs, to detonate the "nuclear option" doomsday machine. Some Sunny Day.
This is the man the Senate Democrats have chosen to lead them. One would think that can't go on for very much longer with this kind of reaction from much of the liberal media, with the likes of Senator Leahy breaking ranks and the ability of Democrats to influence the next Supreme Court appointment melting under his "leadership."
And, of course, there's the longer-term damage to the Democratic cause noted by the Post.
UPDATE: Five Democrats — Sens. Feinstein, Biden, Kennedy, Schumer and Durbin — opposed Roberts in the final committee vote, with Democratic Sens. Feingold, Kohl and Leahy voting in favor of the nomination. Of the three Democrats, only Sen. Leahy holds a safe seat.
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