(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Thursday, November 07, 2002

The newspapers today are full of stories noting that the President and Republican Senate will go full-speed-ahead in confirmation of right-wing judicial nominees, and perhaps even re-nomination (and confirmation) of previously-rejected nominees Pickering and Owen.

What do the Democrats need to do? Simply this: fight HARD on the Supreme Court nominee(s) -- using every available procedural move, to the point of filibuster if (as expected) the nominee is hard-right -- and on the most egregious lower-court nominees. On the remainder, the Democrats should forthrightly and simply vote against the nominees -- not blushingly and only against the worst of them, but against all who can reasonably be expected to be identifiably Republican-oriented in their judging. That way, two and four and six years from now, there can be an honest assessment by the American people once those Republican-confirmed judges have decided some high-profile cases: are these the sort of judges we want more, or fewer, of?

In advocating a resort to repeated and avowed votes-against, rather than reliance on the procedural arcana of Senatorial rules, I'm suggesting (in this context) what many people have said since Tuesday: that the Democrats need to show what they are for, rather than just being against. What Democrats need to be saying, on the judiciary, is this: You want a litmus test? I got your litmus test right here, buddy: We'd prefer to see people on the federal bench who have spent their legal careers helping those less fortunate than themselves, rather than those who have spent their time helping the rich get richer. The best way to get that message across is by doing it explicitly -- not by placing blue slips, or refusing to withdraw pink slips, or whatever the hell they do over in the Senate to block nominees surreptitiously.

Will the American people care? All I can say today is, I hope so.

posted by sam 8:33 AM 0 comments


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