Monday, January 03, 2005

Bush and federal judges

An editorial in today's Washington Post urges Bush to "quietly back[] down" on his judicial appointments. But I say kudos to Bush for sticking up for his judges.

I don't know the specifics of each of his appointments who were filibustered by Democrats, but I presume that Democrats didn't like them because they are strict constructionists when it comes to interpreting statutes and the U.S. Constitution. (I only hope his appointments aren't religious nuts whose only raison d'etre is prohibiting abortions.)

One of Bush's problems during his first term is that he let Democrats in Congress run roughshod over him because all he cared about was getting Congress to approve his wars, and in exchange he gave Congress a free hand to spend money, creating the largest budget deficit in history. Sticking up to Congress is what he needs to do during his second term.

[T]he failure of both sides to seek an accord on judicial nominations is a great mistake, one that will make it ever more difficult for future presidents of either party to get judges confirmed and one that risks politicizing the courts.

But I thought the courts became politicized back in the 1930s when Democratic Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court with his own guys. And then became even more politicized in the early 1990s when Democrats tried to prevent Clarence Thomas from being confirmed. I don't see how Bush, by sticking up for his judges, can make the process any more politicized than it already is.

3 comments:

Mr. X said...

I don't know the specifics of each of his appointments who were filibustered by Democrats, but I presume that Democrats didn't like them because they are strict constructionists when it comes to interpreting statutes and the U.S. Constitution. (I only hope his appointments aren't religious nuts whose only raison d'etre is prohibiting abortions.)Point one: If you don't know why the appointments were filibustered, why do you blindly support their renomination? You're making some pretty strong presumptions and giving the President far more trust than he has earned. You're also assuming that the Senate Democrats hate all constructionists and that's the only possible reason they might filibuster the nominees. The real world is not this black and white.

One of Bush's problems during his first term is that he let Democrats in Congress run roughshod over him because all he cared about was getting Congress to approve his wars, and in exchange he gave Congress a free hand to spend money, creating the largest budget deficit in history. Sticking up to Congress is what he needs to do during his second term.Point two: Explain to me again how Democrats in Congress ran roughshod over the President during his first term. Last I checked, the Republicans controlled Congress during the first term and the President refused to veto anything. Please, correct me if I'm wrong (and no, 50 Senators and Jeffords does not "control of Congress" make).

This post smacks of, as Jon Stewart put it, "partisan hackery."

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...not amused...

...

Publicola said...

LG,
This is an aside but I think an important one to discuss (then again we all think asides we bring up are important). The courts in the u.S. have been politicized since around their inception. There were some minor things in the 1890's that show this but the big one was SCOTUS in Marbury v. Madison. We don't realize it as much now but that was a major test of the court's influence. If they decided against Marbury then it would be assumed they did so in deference to Madison. If they decided against Madison there was the very real chance that Madison would simply have ignored their judgement & proved the court to be powerless. The solution Jay arrived at was as much as political one as a judicial one.

Going back courts have almost always been political. every now & then they'll do something to give the opposite impression, but when it comes down to it the courts are a branch of government like the others & politics tends to creep in despite the noblest of efforts to keep them out. It's just most of the time th epolitics are covert. FDR (that socialist bastard) made them overt when he did his little tapdance & in general he did a lot of bad things, but the political aspect of the courts was something pre-existing that he used, not something he invented.

I'm not saying the courts are always bad or always sefl concerned; I'm just sayig that courts are & have been more political than we often realize.

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