- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

John Nowacki's March 14 Op-Ed column, “The uncivil war on Pickering,” stated the obvious but failed to render a solution. Mr. Nowacki rightly observes that though Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden stated in 1992 that every judicial nominee deserves a floor vote, he rescinded that opinion when the “wrong” type of nominee U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering was being considered. Mr. Nowacki laments the Democrats' obstructionism by comparing numbers of nominees and approvals from past Republican and Democratic administrations, but he fails to admit the obvious: This is the way the game is played. As wrongheaded as the Democrats are, they are as committed to preventing federal appointments for conservative judges as Republicans were to blocking President Clinton's lefties.

President Bush must expend political capital to regain control of the Senate. Getting reasonable judicial nominees, such as Judge Pickering, confirmed is more important to the well-being of this country than anything else in the president's campaign agenda.

Balancing the federal judiciary against the lopsided leftward tilt to which we have been subjected for years must take precedence. The president has ushered through his tax cut and seen the economy recover on his watch, and he will be viewed as a successful wartime president who fought for a just and moral cause.

While it is comforting that the president enjoys his present level of popularity, he also should understand that political capital cannot be banked; it is fleeting. He needs to spend capital, which he'll lose eventually, and get Republicans elected to the Senate in 2002. Time is running short.


BRIAN PENN

Rockville


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