- The Washington Times - Friday, November 11, 2005

White House strategist Karl Rove last night railed against judicial activism on the Supreme Court in his first speech since avoiding indictment in the CIA leak case last month.

“Judicial imperialism has split American society, politicized the courts in a way the Founders never intended,” Mr. Rove told the Federalist Society, an influential group of conservative judges and lawyers.

“It has created a sense of disenfranchisement among a very large segment of American society, people who believe issues not addressed by the Constitution should be decided through elections rather than by nine lawyers in robes,” he said.

The defiant speech was considered the start of Mr. Rove’s political comeback after he avoided indictment in a federal investigation into whether the White House leaked the name of a CIA operative.

Although the probe is ongoing, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald announced two weeks ago that “the substantial bulk of the work in this investigation is concluded.”

Mr. Rove made no reference to the case in last night’s remarks, although he took a shot at CBS News, which last year used forged documents to question President Bush’s military service. The reference was made during Mr. Rove’s discussion of judicial corruption in Texas in the 1980s.

“Even 60 Minutes was troubled,” Mr. Rove deadpanned. “And it takes a lot to trouble CBS.”

Mr. Rove also used the speech as an opportunity to heap praise on White House counsel Harriet Miers, who was nominated to the Supreme Court but withdrew her name after Republicans said she was insufficiently conservative.

Mr. Rove pointed out that Miss Miers vetted the president’s conservative nominees to the federal bench.

“If you like every one of the 200 judges that we’ve sent forward to the U.S. Congress to be approved, in the last three years there hasn’t been one of them who hasn’t been researched, vetted, studied, analyzed and recommended by my friend Harriet Miers, legal counsel to the president,” Mr. Rove said.

“The last three years we’ve served together on the judicial selection committee at the White House,” he said. “And for me, the non-lawyer, it has been a fantastic experience. It has been like attending a graduate seminar on legal theory.”

Mr. Rove also praised Miss Miers’ replacement, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., and predicted he would be confirmed soon to the Supreme Court.

“Many ordinary men and women — non-lawyers — believe our courts are in crisis. And their concerns are well-grounded,” Mr. Rove said. “For decades, the American people have seen decision after decision after decision that strikes them as fundamentally out of touch with our Constitution.

For example, Mr. Rove criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year that outlawed executions of criminals younger than 18.

“In its decision, the majority ignored the fact that, at the time, the people’s representatives in 20 states had passed laws permitting the death penalty for killers under 18,” he said. “Just 18 states, or less than 50 percent of the states allowing capital punishment, had laws prohibiting the execution of killers who committed their crimes as juveniles.”

He also spoke out against a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that barred reciting the Pledge of Allegiance because it contained the words “under God.” And he lambasted the Massachusetts Supreme Court for “forcing same-sex marriage on an unwilling public and rebuking the legislative power.”

Mr. Rove predicted that the president will reverse the trend of judicial activism.

“One of George W. Bush’s greatest contributions as president will be the changes he has brought about in our courts and our legal culture,” Mr. Rove said.

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