When high-ranking White House and Department of Justice officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, met with “citizen lobbyists” from across the country last week, the invitation list revealed much about the President’s intentions on nominees. Cast as a “strategy session” to encourage reduction of judicial vacancies throughout the Federal Judiciary, the meeting and joint effort to lobby on behalf of radical nominees pending before the Senate reinforced the President’s unwavering determination to force unqualified nominees through the Senate rather than appoint better judges.
It is certainly true that the President deserves some degree of deference from the Senate when considering his nominees. The Senate has provided this assent by confirming nominees at a steady pace, yet the President and his fellow ideologues attempt to twist the numbers in effort to demand even more. Meanwhile, President Obama has failed to announce a nominee for more than half of the 77 vacant Federal judgeships.
While their analysis attempts to suggest Republicans in the Senate have been stonewalling against the President’s nominations, the numbers tell a very different story. President Obama has had 142 lower court confirmations to date, plus two Supreme Court confirmations. When compared to the last four years of President George W. Bush’s administration, a favorite pastime of this administration, President Obama has had 22 more of his judges confirmed, with still fully seven months of his administration remaining.
But the numbers matter little in light of the tremendously radical, unqualified, and unprecedentedly problematic records of many of these nominees. Consider the following:
- Career law professor Goodwin Liu who found it “difficult to grasp” that foreign law should not be used to interpret the U.S. Constitution and that judges should seek “an awareness of the evolving norms and social understandings of our country.”
- Alison Nathan, who graduated law school less than eleven years ago and spent less than eight of those years actually practicing law despite the widely-accepted standard for Federal Judges of a minimum twelve years practicing law.
- John McConnell former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in Rhode Island, and Morgan Christen, a former Board Member of Planned Parenthood in Alaska.
- Victoria Nourse, who aggressively advocated for what she calls a “radical theory of judging,” a theory based entirely on her personal concept of a “self-transcending constitution” and reliant on judges wrongfully legislating from the bench.
- “Loophole” Louie Butler was offered a lifetime appointment on the Wisconsin Federal District Court, even after being rejected by Wisconsin voters in two separate State Supreme Court elections including one which made him the first Wisconsin judge in 40 years to lose his seat in a retention election.
- Edward DuMont, who argued that the Delaware Superior Court should ignore their own evidentiary and procedural rules and instead accept the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s explanation of their law.
- Andrew Hurwitz, a nominee who continues to tout his “crucial influence” in writing the legal “reasoning” relied upon by one of the most egregious instances of judicial activism, Roe v. Wade.
- Steve Six, who irresponsibly abdicated his role as Attorney General of Kansas by interfering with an ongoing investigation of criminal misconduct by infamous Abortionist George Tiller. Six misrepresented his actions to the Senate Judiciary Committee when directly questioned about this incident.
Rejecting unqualified nominees is an inherently unpleasant task for the Senate but remains substantially necessary. The Senate has a Constitutional duty which to reject nominees who are unqualified, blatantly biased, highly controversial in their interpretation of the law, or otherwise dangerous to the integrity and authority of the Judiciary.
The President’s controversial slate of nominees has perpetuated vacancies in our Federal court system which might otherwise have been easily filled long ago. Yet, rather than attempt to reach across party lines to offer ‘consensus’ - or even remotely agreeable nominees - President Obama continues to nominate roadblock nominees who delay the confirmation process for qualified nominees who have shown respect for the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
Last week’s meeting could have provided an open forum for productive public discourse to benefit the American people. Instead, the meeting feels more like one more “Campaign Strategy Session” orchestrated to distort the issue of judicial vacancies.