(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

serenity now. serenity now Let me try to say this without screaming. As Howard Bashman points out, Senator Hatch has said (in connection with the upcoming vote on the non-confirmation to the Fifth Circuit of Texas S.Ct. Justice Owen) that it marks "the attempt by some to introduce ideology and base politics into the confirmations process".

Serenity now. This is hypocrisy because -- though he wasn't as bad as some in this regard -- Senator Hatch was among those who voted in a party-line vote against Pres. Clinton's nomination of Mo. S.Ct. Justice Ronnie White to the federal bench. (see, for instance, this lovely page from the Eagle Forum's site). It is simply not plausible to say that this was anything other than "ideology and base politics". White was a long-time sitting Judge, well-qualified from any point of view. Whether it was raw partisan politics, or ideology about criminal-law decisions, or both, Hatch's vote was precisely what he is now decrying.

Serenity now. There are two responsible positions that one can take on judicial nominations: either (a) neither party should take ideology and politics into account when it controls the Senate and the President is of the other party (the perfectly reputable stance that Howard took the other day); or (b) it is acceptable for either party to take ideology and politics into account (the stance that I take, though like most who take this stance I think that the power should be used sparingly -- but that it should be used in this instance with a vote against Owen).

Serenity now. But it is irresponsible for any U.S. Senator to pretend that only the other party has ever done it.

posted by sam 2:34 PM 0 comments


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