Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nominee hypocrisy

How quickly things change. Less than a year ago we heard this from Senator Bill Frist:

Frist: Specter Must Back
President's Judicial Nominees

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist withholds endorsement of
Sen. Arlen Specter for Senate Judiciary committee chairmanship and says Specter has yet to make his case.

'...Frist said he expected the chairman of the Committee to be "responsible to the feelings, the wishes, the beliefs, the values, the procedures that are held by the majority of that committee. That is, in this case, the Republican caucus on that committee, the Republican committee members."

'Additionally, the chairman, explained Frist, should not only "have a strong predisposition to supporting that nominee sent over by President a Republican Judiciary Committee," but also "on the floor of the United States Senate."

'Frist said the chairman also has the duty to ensure every one of the President's judicial nominees receive an up-or-down vote. He discussed the possibility of the "nuclear option," which would prevent filibusters by only requiring a majority vote of 51 to pass a judicial nominee...'
Apparently ensuring that every one of the President's nominees gets an up-or-down vote is no longer a big priority among Senate Republicans.*

Oh, there are those who will tell you that Miers was simply unqualified. There are those that will tell you that they couldn't vote for someone when essential background information was being withheld. That's crap. Look at John Bolton, the unqualified fellow with the secretive background who is currently U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.** There's at least one other example of an unqualified person with a shadowy background occupying a position of power in the United States that I can think of.

It's true that the term of a Supreme Court justice can be much longer than that of an ambassador or a President. Which is, in part, why we didn't want this President in a position to nominate anyone to the Supreme Court.

But the people who opposed Miers so fiercely were only concerned that she had failed to pass their ideological litmus test. They're looking for an ideologue, an activist judge, someone who will legislate from the bench. They're looking for someone to give them the fifth vote necessary to overturn Roe v. Wade. That's the only qualification they're concerned about.

*This can, of course, be spun to show that Arlen Specter had failed in his duty to ensure an up-or-down vote on the Miers nomination. In the next few days, somebody probably will spin it just like that.
**Yes, I know the Senate didn't approve Bolton. He was a sneak-thief recess appointment. But they didn't raise a fuss about him, either, so they've given him tacit approval.

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