Wednesday, October 13, 2004

On tonight's debate

One of the most important issues of this campaign has not really been discussed, and that is the makeup of the federal bench. C. Boyden Gray makes the point. I hope to see the issue addressed tonight, forcefully, by President Bush, that Kerry and the other liberal Senators are applying a litmus test on judges and unconstitutionally blocking them with their fillibusters.

Of course in the last debate, Kerry said,

A few years ago when he came to office, the president said -- these are his words -- "What we need are some good conservative judges on the courts."

And he said also that his two favorite justices are Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas. So you get a pretty good sense of where he's heading if he were to appoint somebody.

Now, here's what I believe. I don't believe we need a good conservative judge, and I don't believe we need a good liberal judge. I don't believe we need a good judge of that kind of definition on either side.

I subscribe to the Justice Potter Stewart standard. He was a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. And he said the mark of a good judge, good justice, is that when you're reading their decision, their opinion, you can't tell if it's written by a man or woman, a liberal or a conservative, a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian. You just know you're reading a good judicial decision.

What I want to find, if I am privileged to have the opportunity to do it -- and the Supreme Court of the United States is at stake in this race, ladies and gentlemen.

The future of things that matter to you -- in terms of civil rights, what kind of Justice Department you'll have, whether we'll enforce the law. Will we have equal opportunity? Will women's rights be protected? Will we have equal pay for women, which is going backwards? Will a woman's right to choose be protected?

These are constitutional rights, and I want to make sure we have judges who interpret the Constitution of the United States according to the law.
What does it mean then, if the ABA says a nominee (see Miguel Estrada, for example) is "well-qualified," its highest rating for nominees, Kerry votes against them?

UPDATE: Terry Eastland has more.