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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tempest In A DC Teapot

Tom Carter wrote:
After the confirmation hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it's impossible to understand how any Senator can vote against John Roberts. However, it seems Democrats in the Senate are again taking careful aim at their own feet and wondering whether to pull the trigger.
For a change, let's hear from Daily Kos (Armando):
Senator Leahy's announcement that he will vote yes signals a Democtratic surrender on the issue of Supreme Court nominations. Not just on Roberts. But also on the next nominee. ...

Roberts will get 80 votes now. And we know nothing about his judicial philosophy. Nothing. ...

Dems are left really with one argument - they approved of Roberts because he was Rehnquist's replacement and therefore did not need more information and would give the President more latititude on Roberts. On the O'Connor replacement, the Dems might argue, they need to be sure the nominee is in the O'Connor mold to retain the balance of the Court.
I will not quote the really ridiculous stuff. Oh, heck, yes I will:
Bush now has a free hand to nominate whatever wingnut he pleases. What are the Dems gonna do? Fight? Don't make me laugh.

So, so long the right to choose. So long Congress' Commerce power. So long checks on Presidential power. So long civil rights laws.

Hello 1937.
Maybe the Kossites know nothing about his judicial philosophy, but that is a deliberate ignorance. Anyone who watched the hearings or read the transcripts does know quite a bit about Roberts' judicial philosophy. As for the dire prediction of a return to 1937, Roberts explicitly brought up Lochner as an example of what he would not do. He said it was obvious that the judges in Lochner were overriding the judgement of the legislature with no basis in law. The same goes for the civil rights laws, but never mind. I suppose facts don't matter when you are just Kossing along on a wave of hysterical indignation.

What really puzzles me is that the argument above is so obviously wrong. If Dems attempted to filibuster this nomination, the Republicans would change the rules to disallow the filibuster with the country's support, because it is obvious to everyone except the far left wing (some 10 % of our population) that Roberts is a highly qualified and instinctively moderate, unrevolutionary nominee. An attempt at a filibuster would amount to an attempt to force the majority of the Senate and the President to accede to the requirements of the minority of the Senate.

This would not sit well with the voters at all, who favor Roberts' confirmation. The last thing the Democrats can afford is to fight this out with the American voters, who disapprove of recent decisions such as Kelo by a large majority. The last thing the Democrats really want to do is have the Supreme Court become a significant issue in the 2006 election, given that gay marriage cases and the pledge of allegiance are nearing the Supreme Court and Kelo is an issue that does not play well for them. Right now the central issues in 2006 are gas prices and illegal aliens. That's much safer territory for Democrats.

If the Dems do refrain from attempting to filibuster Roberts, they preserve the option to mount a determined opposition on a more extreme nominee, and possibly gain the support of the voters for that attempt. I also can't figure out on what basis Armando makes the odd claim that the Democrats have a right to demand that Bush appoint a "moderate" to replace O'Connor to "preserve the balance of the court". The balance of the court is determined by the appointments of the Presidents and has shifted many times. The current balance isn't written in stone anywhere. It isn't in the Constitution, and it isn't rooted in history.

Taken at face value, this proposition would mean that the American people could vote in a series of Reagans for the next century but the appointees would remain preponderantly liberal. Of course this would not happen under such circumstances even if the Dems consistently filibustered any non-liberal candidates. Instead the American people would vote in at least 60 Republican senators who would not obstruct their will. If you were Leahy, how would that result advance the Democratic cause?

I have come to understand that there is a sizeable and absolutely didactic leftwing of the Democratic party that is attacking the moderates in their own party with absolute determination. Look at the comments on this Kos post, and see if you don't agree. The first two on topic replies:
How could Leahy do this!? (none / 0)
He's stabbing us in the back. How can he support this loser? We know next to nothing about John Roberts!

Coward (none / 0)
He's a lily livered coward. The DNC should enforce some goddamn discipline and shut funding to yellowbacks like this sorry excuse of a senator.
Then there's a long blurb about boycotting a gym, Exxon/Mobil, Domino's Pizza etc. So, returning to Tom's confusion about why Dems might be considering voting against Roberts, we now have an answer. It is because the Bush haters will turn their hatred upon those who do, and it will be every bit as vitriolic as the hatred turned upon Bush. This is not rational, but it is happening.

Is the Democratic Party intent on self destruction? I know the Republicans had their little flair up over the so called RINOs but they somehow managed to move on past that.

As far as appointing another judge like the last judge to preserve the balance of the court, that is a neat little argument to make once you have managed to get the court out of balance. Thereby preserving the imbalance.
It occurs to me that the Roberts issue has brought out more crazies than y2k whack jobs.

That's really saying something.
Tommy, I don't know. It might be that 10% that is intent on the Dems self-destruction.

SC&A, it is. It's odd that such a sane man has inspired such manic ranting.
MOM- why are you surprised? These are the same people that think John Paul II was a religious fascist and Benedict is Hitler come back to life.
And that wild-eyed fanatics blowing up kids in Iraq are "freedom fighters".

You have a point.
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