- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2005

The so-called “compromise” by 14 Senate “moderates” over the nomination of judges to the federal bench was a victory for an institution and a defeat for the Constitution. It also ignored the last election’s results and revealed, once again, that at least some Republicans apparently suffer from power attachment disorder — an inability to handle the responsibilities that come from being in the majority.

Despite all the feel-good spirit, handshaking and smiles at the Monday night announcement of the agreement (and why do you think Minority Leader Harry Reid was smiling and praising the agreement?), the gang of 14 senators undermined a president’s right to nominate judges of his judicial philosophy and have them voted up or down.

Sens. John Warner, Virginia Republican, and Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, were reported to have examined the Constitution’s jots and tittles to see what the Founders meant by “advice” in the “advice and consent” clause. Like proof-texting the Bible, they apparently discovered there are ways to get around anything if enough time is spent rationalizing and looking for excuses.

The agreement is without substantive meaning. Some of the very judges deemed by Democrats as “extremist” will be confirmed, while others will not. The provision to support a judicial filibuster only under “extraordinary circumstances” is a phrase left to the interpretation of each senator.

What has brought the country to the brink is not this president or conservative senators. It is rogue judges who have decided in their own minds — shaped by their own social and political biases — to reshape the country in their image. They have abused the Constitution — not “faithfully executed” what the Founders intended — and have often ignored laws passed by legislators in favor of their personal agendas and legal biases.

Among the messages sent by this agreement is that it is perfectly fine to be an activist liberal judge on the Supreme Court if you’re nominated by a Democrat president. You just can’t be a conservative one and, if you are, you are unlikely to reach the bench.

One conservative activist group pushing for a majority vote on judges, the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters, issued a statement that the “centrist ‘deal’ dishonors the Constitution, ignores an election and forgets four nominees who withdrew their names as a result of Democrat obstruction.” Those would be Miguel Estrada, Carolyn Kuhl, Claude Allen and Charles Pickering, in addition to the two cut loose in the moderate deal: William G. Myers III and Henry Saad.

This agreement firmly establishes the 60-vote supermajority as a hurdle, however remote, that all future judges must clear. It also establishes a small minority of 14 senators as the real power in the Senate.

While Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, said he and his colleagues reserve the right to call on the chair to rule a simple majority is needed to change the rules and confirm judges by majority vote, that is less likely given the rapport the moderates have found and the editorial hosannas that will come from the usual newspaper suspects, which want no justice on the Supreme Court who will stand against abortion on demand, the sanctioning of secularism or the advance of same-sex “marriage.”

Republicans increased their majorities in the House and Senate and President Bush won re-election largely because most voters believed they had principles and wanted to restrain the moral and social mudslide judges have helped bring forth on this nation. Now, by refusing to pull the majority trigger, Republican “moderates” effectively say only what they think matters and not what the voters decide.

Why are Republicans afraid to use power? The excuse that they haven’t had it that long is no longer valid. They have held power in Congress for a decade and now have united government. It must be a character flaw. They prefer the praise of liberals to the affirmation of their conscience.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide