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Judicial Nomination Vitriol

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With all the attention that has been paid to the rhetorical blather of DNC Chairman Howard Dean (with such attention being well deserved), a good number of high level Democrats have been able to speak “under the radar,” as it were.

It would seem as though congressional Democrats have caught a strain of whatever rhetorical virus Howard Dean has been suffering from. The primary symptoms appear to be a complete loss of propriety and logic when it comes to managing the words that come out of one’s mouth.

Throughout the course of the recent arduous judicial nomination/filibuster fiasco, many senior Democrats have been given to – and been allowed to get away with – shall we say, rhetorical excess. Concerning the records of many of Bush’s judicial nominees, they have distorted, misrepresented, mischaracterized and in some cases outright lied.

Let’s look at a sampling from some of the leading liberal lights in the US Senate.

California Senator Barbara Boxer accused nominee Janice Rogers Brown of being out of touch and having a “negative view” of America. “As someone who owns property, no one has ever tried to take it away from me. I don’t know what [Justice Brown’s] problem is.” And: “What an optimist. Why are we promoting someone who has this negative view of America?”

From Illinois Senator Richard “Gitmo” Durbin, we have suggestions that Brown doesn’t have judicial temperament, saying: “[Justice Brown’s] speeches show she has the temperament and ideology of a rightwing radio talk show host, not of a person we want to serve on the second highest court of the land for a lifetime–a lifetime.” (horrors!) And stated that nominee Judge William Pryor was devoid of any knowledge of the law and suggested he wanted to give guns to wife beaters. “…to think Mr. Pryor believes the Second Amendment right is so absolute that we should give guns to men who batter their wives, I just do not understand it. It does not show common sense, let alone an understanding of the law.”

Senator Teddy “the chauffeur” Kennedy suggested Pryor doesn’t care if innocent people get executed, saying: “[Mr. Pryor] is dismissive of concerns about fairness in capital punishment and the possible execution of persons who are innocent.” And that Brown doesn’t believe in the democratic process; “Perhaps most disturbing is the contempt she has repeatedly expressed for the very idea of democratic self-government.” (Imagine, THIS from a liberal like Kennedy.)

Senator Pat Leahy claimed that Brown manipulates the law to reach her own desired results (again, THIS from a liberal): “Justice Brown has proven herself to be a results-oriented, agenda-driven judge whose respect for precedent and rules of judicial interpretation change and shift depending on the subject matter before her and the results she wants to reach.”

From Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, we have accusations that Brown is an “activist”: “[Justice Brown] is the most activist judge, in my many years in the courts and in the legislature, I have ever seen. She has a deep disdain for government.” Funny, my history books tell me that disdain for “government” is a time honored American tradition.

The mild-mannered Reid then went on to paint a disgusting picture of “Brown’s America” (reminiscent of Teddy Kennedy’s “Robert Bork’s America” speech), saying: “I say to my colleagues, to the American people, if you believe in America–and I know we do–where workers are entitled to a fair wage for a fair day’s work, where racial slurs are not condoned, where discrimination is not tolerated, where corporations are not given license to lie, where senior citizens are valued and honored, where we have protections for the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and these are embraced instead of evaded, if you believe in these things, no one in good conscience can approve this nomination [i.e., of Justice Brown].”

Last but not least, Reid accused the GOP of “abuse of power” by saying: “We stand united against an outrageous abuse of power that would pack the courts with out-of-the-mainstream judges.” (That’s what the GOP gets for trying to do that constitutional duty thing as a result of winning the last three elections)

New York Senator Chuck Schumer couldn’t make up his mind whether Brown wants a theocracy or a dictatorship, saying: “Does [Justice Brown] want a theocracy? Does she want a dictatorship?…What does Janice Rogers Brown want to be nominated for–dictator or grand exalted ruler?” (He needs to chat with Robert Byrd about the “Grand Exalted Ruler thing…that’s a different organization.)

And then there’s the “other” Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, warning about judges who would use the bench to advance an agenda: “Americans deserve better than this. They deserve even-tempered jurists who will not use the bench as a pulpit for the advancement of their own political agenda.” No, she’s not kidding folks.

Then there was her assertion re: abuse of power by the administration, stating: “There has never been an administration more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda.” (Yea, I laughed out loud at this one too.)

This level of extremism is perfectly understandable when one considers just how important the judiciary is to the liberal agenda.

Given the political unpopularity of liberalism at the ballot box (witness the results of the past several elections) and its unpopularity in our society in general (witness the use and promotion of the term “progressive” as a new label for the same old ideas) the federal courts have been the vehicle through which most of liberalisms success has been achieved. Specifically, via activist federal judges.

The level of rhetoric has increased with their sense of impending loss. They know that the losses at the ballot box threaten liberalism’s hold on the judiciary. Each setback at the polls inspires not a review of their agenda and an attempt to be more representative of the public as a whole, but rather an increase in the levels of hysterical vitriolic attacks.

When most people find themselves “in a hole” they stop digging. Liberals get a bigger shovel.

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About Drew McKissick

Drew McKissick is a political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience specializing in political strategy, planning and organization as well as the development of grassroots related political action programs. He has worked as a political activist at the local, state and national levels, and has served in elected and appointed positions at all levels of the Republican Party, including serving as a member of the Republican National Committee. He also writes a regular column providing analysis and commentary on current events.
  • billy

    “Given the political unpopularity of liberalism at the ballot box”

    what does that say about Bush, the most popular republican for the next generation who could only win the two closest elections in history.

    i guess you will admit, the republicans are finished after bush.

  • RJ

    Well, Bush won THE closest election in history, and then was re-elected in a fairly-close election. But his re-election wasn’t as close as several others in US history.

    So, you’re factually wrong, billy…

  • RJ

    And, actually, a solid case could be made that the REAL closest Presidential election in US history was back in the 1800s. Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote, and I think he won the Electoral College by a single vote.

  • In fairness, I must say that the reaction to the Roberts nomination has been surprisingly subdued. Of course there have been a few ragin’ pinkos having little fits, but hardly anyone in the senate has been significantly unreasonable so far. Even Ted Kennedy has not managed to come up with a “John Robert’s America” speech to parallel his famous demagoguery in which he invented “borking” as it is now known.

    So far, they’ve actually played surprisingly nice since the nomination.

  • RJ

    Key words: SO FAR…

  • Actually, RJ. The Tilden-Hayes election in 1876 was much like the election in 2000. It all came down to Florida just as it did in 2000. Neither candidate had a majority and because of irregularities in four states, 20 electoral votes from Florida, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina were left in limbo and neither candidate had an actual majority. As in 2000 the Supreme Court had to step in with the result of a special Electoral Commission being formed by the court with members of the SC and the congress working out a brokered deal in which ended up with Hayes as president and a final termination of any effort at reconstructing the south. The Republicans got the presidency, but the Democrats got to institute Jim Crow laws and rule the south like a feudal state for the next 75 years.

    There were two other elections which were even closer.

    In the election of 1824 no candidate had a clear majority of the 4 who ran, so Congress had to vote to determine which one was the winner, and they picked John Quincy Adams who had actually come in second in the popular and electoral vote. Andrew Jackson who had the largest number of electors and a majority of the popular vote ran again in 1828 and crushed Adams on the strength of reaction against the ‘corrupt bargain’ of 1824.

    And in the election of 1796 Aaron Burr who was running for Vice President tried to rig the election so that he would become president under an odd constitutional rule which I’m not going to explain now but which was quickly done away with. There was no clear majority and the election got thrown into the house of representatives as in 1824 and in this case they picked John Adams who had come in first by 3 votes, but should have lost if Burr had not gotten 7 representatives to change their votes to try to screw up the election. It didn’t work because Alexander Hamilton counter-rigged the vote by getting 30 other votes to switch to Adams, so Adams won. As Jackdon did in 1824 Jefferson came back and won in the next election and instituted electoral reforms immediately to prevent that kind of manipulation in the future.