- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The unprecedented, systematic filibuster assault that Democratic senators have been waging since early 2003 against nearly a dozen circuit-court nominees represents liberalism’s multi-front, pre-emptive attack in its long-term campaign to deny President Bush an opportunity to appoint one or more conservative judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In fact, the Democratic Party, whose 2000 national convention in Los Angeles became obsessed over the prospect of Mr. Bush making judicial nominations, undoubtedly began plotting its strategy the day he won the 2000 election. Democrats then gathered great force in June 2001. Jim Jeffords’ defection from the Republican Party that spring handed control of the Senate to Democrats, who used their domination of the Judiciary Committee to thwart numerous judicial nominations to the appellate courts, particularly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That court is widely regarded as the second most powerful court in the nation, because its rulings so often represent the final word on government-policy and regulatory issues.

The D.C. Circuit Court has also become the source of numerous recent Supreme Court nominees, including Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg. That largely explains why Democrats refused in 2001 and 2002 to grant even a committee vote for the eminently qualified Miguel Estrada, who would have become the first Hispanic judge on the D.C. Circuit Court and a leading candidate to become the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.

It is also why Democrats, having lost their majority in the 2002 election, reverted to the filibuster, which they waged in 2003 and 2004 to prevent the appointment to the D.C. Circuit of Mr. Estrada and Justice Janice Rogers Brown. (With a quarter of the D.C. Circuit’s judicial positions vacant, Democrats have also threatened to filibuster two other nominees.)

In pursuit of the American dream, Justice Brown, who grew up as a daughter of sharecroppers in rural, segregated Alabama in the 1950s, worked her way through UCLA law school as a single mother. In 1998, as an unabashed conservative whose fair-minded integrity won her the editorial endorsements of California’s two most powerful liberal newspapers (the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle), Justice Brown received more than 75 percent of the vote in her election to the California Supreme Court. That should put the lie to liberal assertions that she is outside the judicial mainstream. She has been embraced by the vast majority of the voters in one of the bluest of states.

From her position on the D.C. Circuit Court, for which a majority of senators would certainly confirm her in an up-or-down vote, the passionately conservative Brown would be an ideal Supreme Court nominee. That is why Democrats oppose her with such vitriol. With more than five decades of Horatio Alger accomplishments behind her, Janice Rogers Brown has earned the honor of being one of the two judges whom Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will use in his effort to overcome the Democrats’ unprecedented, systematic filibuster campaign.

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