Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Chief Justice McConnell?

Mike Rappaport thinks a fillibuster of the 10th Circuit Judge is unlikely. I'd love to see McConnell on the court as well. But, while I agree with most of his reasoning that a fillibuster would be politically dangerous for the Democrats because a SCOTUS pick is much more newsworthy and important than Appeals court nominations, I disagree with his conclusion.

Rappaport writes:

Of course, if the President were to nominate an extreme or weak candidate, then the Democrats might be able to argue that a filibuster was appropriate. Perhaps the country would believe that the President had abused his prerogative and it was appropriate to block his nominee. But where the President nominates someone with excellent credentials and nonextreme views, this is a much harder argument to make. While left-wing Democrats with safe seats such as Schumer and Boxer would no doubt be willing to filibuster McConnell, more moderate Democrats would be much less willing to take the heat.
This tactic is precisely what the Democrats have been doing during the entire Bush administration. Democrats have repeatedly invoked "extremism" and even "deeply held religious beliefs" as rationale for blocking nominees. Democrats have assumed the mantle of arbiters of what is and isn't "mainstream." Regardless of who Bush appoints, unless they be a brazen left-winger or all too squishy "moderate" (read: liberal), the pick will get fillibustered because Chuck Schumer and Teddy Kennedy will lead the charge to block them. They will scream at the top of their lungs that Bush is trying to tilt the judiciary, appoint extremist judges who want to overtun Roe, and bring back slavery, etc. Miguel Estrada and many of the other blocked nominees DO have excellent credentials, but that never stopped the Dems before.

I do hope that Rappaport is correct and that the Democrats rethink their obstructionist strategy on judicial nominations. But with their increasing inability to win national elections, the only hope for the liberals to get their radical agendas into law has been through the courts, and I don't think they'll give that up without a fight, despite this last crushing electoral defeat.