Judiciary

Rick Green's Nakedly Political Judicial Campaign Vows to Stop Obama's Socialism

Last week, Debra Lehrmann faced off in a debate against Rick Green the Chuck-Norris-approved-Alan-Keyes-supported-WallBuilders'-employed-pseudo-historian-TEA-Party-Religious-Right-activist, heading into the run-off election for a spot on the Texas Supreme Court next month, during which he compared himself to Sarah Palin, saying that the myriad of complaints about his suspect ethics while in office were little more than liberal persecution because, after all, "they only tackle the guy with the ball."

He also posted a new campaign video in which dismissed his complete lack of judicial experience by saying that Texas voters won't "be fooled by this pretentious argument" that such experience is necessary. In fact, Green says, his lack of judicial experience will bring variety to the court, which is especially important during these "serious, serious times":

Our nation is in a debate right now about whether we're going to march down the road to socialism with this President and Congress or whether we'll rediscover and return to those made America the most successful nation in history.  The only way to renew those principles and protect them for future generations is if we elect leaders at every branch of government - that's the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary - and at every level of government - local, state, and federal.  We must elect leaders that understand and value those principles and will defend those principles from the branch within which serve ... If you want to send a message to Austin, to Washington, DC, and indeed straight to the White House that Texans are not going to let the Constitution of the United States of America be trampled upon, then vote for Rick Green for the Texas Supreme Court.

While Green claims to respect the idea that the judicial branch is completely different from the legislative branch and therefore requires a completely different mindset, you'd never know if from the nakedly political campaign he's been running. 

More Changes Underway At The Judicial Confirmation Network

A few weeks ago the right-wing Judicial Confirmation Network, which was founded to help ensure the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees, announced that it was changing its name to the Judicial Crisis Network to better reflect the fact that, well, getting judges confirmed was no longer its primary mission now that President Obama was doing the nominating.

Now it appears as if JCN is undergoing even more changes, as longtime Chief Counsel and spokesperson Wendy Long has left and been replaced by Carrie Severino:

Today the Judicial Crisis Network (Formerly: The Judicial Confirmation Network/www.judicialnetwork.com) added Carrie Severino as the new Chief Counsel and Policy Director. Mrs. Severino will serve as JCN’s chief spokesperson as well as provide legal analysis and strategic guidance. Previously Mrs. Severino served as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and most recently was an Olin/Searle Fellow and a Dean's Visiting Scholar at Georgetown Law Center.

“The addition of Carrie Severino allows JCN to build on our leadership role in the fight to confirm only highly qualified individuals that apply the law fairly to the U.S. Supreme Court and allows JCN to broaden our mission to confront the radical legal and legislative threats facing the country on the state and local level,” said Gary A. Marx, Executive Director, Judicial Crisis Network.

“Reining in the activist judges is an enormous job, but the American people are up to the task, and we at JCN will certainly do our part to defend the Constitution and the Founders’ vision of a fair and impartial judiciary.” said Mrs. Severino.

Mrs. Severino also served as law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude, of Duke University, and holds a Master's degree in Linguistics from Michigan State University.

Additionally, JCN would like to recognize and thank Wendy Long for her five years of dedicated service as counsel. Wendy has decided to devote her time to her family and other causes, but JCN would not be where it is today without her hard work and sacrifice.

Obstruction for Obstruction's Sake

If you need any more proof that Senate Republicans' sole mission at the moment is to prevent anything from happening in their chamber of Congress, look no further than the fact that today the Senate had to seek cloture on the nomination Barbara Milano Keenan to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in a vote of 99-0.

That's right - not one Republican senator spoke against her qualifications, record, or views or voted to prevent her nomination from receiving an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor ... and yet still they filibustered, forcing Democrats to seek a cloture vote in order to move ahead, simply because they are committed to obstructing the governing process in every way possible.

Earlier today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy took to the Senate floor to blast the Republicans' refusal to allow the Senate to move on even noncontroversial judicial nominations:

Last year’s total was the fewest judicial nominees confirmed in the first year of a Presidency in more than 50 years. Those 12 Federal circuit and district court confirmations were even below the 17 the Senate Republican majority allowed to be confirmed in the 1996 session. After that presidential election year, Chief Justice Rehnquist began criticizing the pace of judicial confirmations and the partisan Republican tactics.

Among the frustrations is that Senate Republicans have delayed and obstructed nominees chosen after consultation with Republican home state Senators. Despite President Obama’s efforts, Senate Republicans have treated his nominees much, much worse.

I noted when the Senate considered the nominations of Judge Christina Reiss of Vermont and Mr. Abdul Kallon of Alabama relatively promptly that they should serve as the model for Senate action. Sadly, they are the exception rather than the model. They show what the Senate could do, but does not. Time and again, noncontroversial nominees are delayed. When the Senate does finally consider them, they are confirmed overwhelmingly. Of the 15 Federal circuit and district court judges confirmed, twelve have been confirmed unanimously.

That is right. Republicans have only voted against three of President Obama's nominees to the Federal circuit and district courts. One of those, Judge Gerry Lynch of the Second Circuit, garnered only three negative votes and 94 votes in favor. Judge Andre Davis of Maryland was stalled for months and then confirmed with 72 votes in favor and only 16 against. Judge David Hamilton was filibustered in a failed effort to prevent an up-or-down vote.

The obstruction and delay is part of a partisan pattern. Even when they cannot say “no,” Republicans nonetheless demand that the Senate go slow. The practice is continuing. This is the 17th filibuster of President Obama's nominees. That does not count the many other nominees who were delayed or are being denied up-or-down votes by Senate Republicans refusing to agree to time agreements to consider even noncontroversial nominees.

Update: Keenan was confirmed by the same margin: 99-0. So why was the cloture vote even necessary when not one Republican voted against it or her confirmation?

When The Effort To Defeat Goodwin Liu Gets Rolling, You Can Thank Ed Whelan

Last week, President Obama nominated Goodwin Liu to a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and immediately Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center started attacked Liu through a series of Bench Memos posts, accusing him of engaging in "demagogic testimony against Justice Alito’s confirmation" and adhering "the living-constitutionalist gimmick that judges can redefine the Constitution to mean whatever they want it to mean."

That was followed by a post claiming that the American Bar Association's rating of Liu as "well qualified" was "a joke" before Whelan got around to critiquing things like Liu's law-review articles and his views on issues like marriage equality and the death penalty.

Given the Liu was just nominated last week, the "Stop Liu" effort hasn't really had a chance to get underway, but you can rest assured that once it does, it will be relying heavily on Whelan's work in laying out the case for opposing his nomination, as you can see by this post by Bruce Hausknecht on Focus on the Family's blog which consists almost entirely of links to Whelan's Bench Memos posts:

Prof. Liu would be a perfect fit for the 9th Circuit

That is, if you’d like to continue the 9th Circuit’s reputation as the most bizarro, most liberal, most reversed appeals court in the federal system.

Liu, a Berkeley law professor, was nominated by President Obama for a vacant seat on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals headquartered in San Francisco. An under-qualified but outspoken liberal, he has managed in his short few years out of law school to burnish and publicize his liberal credentials.

He’s a former board member for an exclusive list of far Left organizations: the ACLU of California, the American Constitution Society of Northern California, and the National Women’s Law Center. He managed to get himself invited to Justice Alito’s confirmation hearings to mischaracterize and then demagogue to the Judiciary committee about Alito’s record.

Liu wrote an op-ed criticizing California’s Prop 8 marriage amendment and the seven million citizens who voted for it by labeling it as “the will of a narrow and ultimately temporary majority.”

And last but certainly not least, Liu firmly has stated his belief in the desirability of courts making law from the bench: “What we mean by [constitutional] fidelity is that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that adapt its principles and its text to the challenges and conditions of our society in every succeeding generation.”

This guy’s confirmation hearings should be interesting.

h/t to Ed Whelan at Bench Memos 

Southern Baptist Priorities For 2010: Fighting Gay Rights

Richard Land and Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission are claiming credit for having played in "instrumental" role in thwarting President Obama goals in 2009 and as they lay out the Southern Baptists' legislative agenda for 2010 which focuses heavily on fighting against reproductive choice and gay rights:

Whenever the voters have been given the opportunity to decide the question of same-sex marriage in their states, they have opted to support traditional marriage. Nevertheless, the battle to protect marriage is far from over. Right now, the U.S. District Court for Northern California is reviewing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in which proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to undo the vote of the people by judicial fiat. The ERLC submitted an amicus brief in that case, supporting the will of the majority of the people in California. In all probability, this is the case that will end up before the U. S. Supreme Court, and decide whether or not the federal judiciary will leave the issue of same-sex marriage to the will of the people or seek to dictate to the people as they have on the sanctity of human life. The ERLC will join the battle for traditional marriage all the way to the Supreme Court.

We are also heavily engaged in trying to prevent the D.C. City Council from imposing same-sex marriage on the District of Columbia. We support efforts in Congress to require a vote by the District’s residents. We believe the majority of the District’s residents do not want to be known as the same-sex marriage capital, but instead want to support traditional marriage as the only form of marriage.

We will also continue to resist efforts in Congress to advance other aspects of the homosexual special rights agenda. Unfortunately, liberals in Congress did manage to pass the Hate Crimes legislation that provides special federal protections for homosexuals that are not available to most other people who are victims of violence. The next goal of homosexual rights groups is passage of the Employment Non-discrimination Act, which will prevent businesses from considering sexual orientation in their hiring practices and make it more difficult for people who oppose aberrant sexual behavior to express their beliefs about it in the workplace without fear of reprisal. This is certainly a free speech and religious freedom issue. Further, the President announced in his State of the Union address his intention to repeal existing law that bars active homosexuals from serving in the military. Liberals in Congress are fully supportive. We will continue to stand against this effort that would weaken troop morale and readiness for combat.

The Obama Administration has already ordered the federal government to extend spousal benefits to same-sex couples in its employment. It is likely that this is a first step toward repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the Administration has already declared it does not like. While we do not believe that will happen in the coming year, we stand ready to oppose any effort that will weaken our nation’s resolve to maintain its commitment to traditional marriage.

...

As we predicted, we spent most of last year resisting liberal efforts to undermine biblical values. Considering the daunting challenges we faced at the beginning of 2009, we believe traditional Judeo-Christian values won out in most cases. It is likely that we will be defending these values from liberal attacks in 2010 as well. However, we will continue to look for ways to move responsible, God-honoring measures forward. 

The Rebirth of the Judicial Confirmation Network

Last year, I wrote a series of posts noting that with the election of Barack Obama, the right-wing Judicial Confirmation Network, which was formed specifically to help President Bush's judicial nominees get confirmed, would probably have to change its name as well as its mission to "support the confirmation of highly qualified individuals to the Supreme Court of the United States [and] ensure that the confirmation process for all judicial nominees is fair and that every nominee sent to the full Senate receives an up or down vote."

Well, guess what?  The Judicial Confirmation Network is henceforth to be known as the Judicial Crisis Network, as JCN explains in this email it just sent out (and posted here):

Just over a year into the new Administration and it has become abundantly clear that defenders of liberty and justice in America have an enormous task at hand. In fact, we face a crisis potentially more threatening than even the current economic crisis.

Friends and supporters of the Judicial Confirmation Network – which led the fight to confirm only highly qualified individuals to the U.S. Supreme Court - have urged the organization to broaden its mission to confront the radical legal and legislative threats facing the country.

We have chosen to accept this new challenge. We hope you'll join us in this effort by considering a contribution of even $25, $50 or $75. It will go a long way towards our efforts to address the crisis facing our nation.

To reflect this new mission we have changed our name to the Judicial Crisis Network and adopted the following new mission statement:

The Judicial Crisis Network is dedicated to strengthening liberty and justice in America.

Our commitment is to the Constitution and the Founders’ vision of a nation of limited government; dedicated to the rule of law; with a fair and impartial judiciary. Every American deserves equal justice under law.

Our operational mission is to promote this vision at every level and branch of government – and to educate and organize citizens to participate in this mission.

We support efforts to ensure only highly qualified individuals who share this vision comprise our state and federal courts and staff executive branch offices that administer and enforce the law.

We support legislative and legal efforts which oppose attempts to undermine the rule of law; unconstitutionally expand the power of government; politicize the enforcement of the law; threaten American sovereignty; supplant American law with foreign or international law; or bias the legal system on behalf of politically favored groups or individuals.

I knew that screencap I took of their old homepage last year would some day come in handy:

The Legal Times' Tony Mauro adds more:

As part of its ramped-up presence, Marx said the group is moving its offices from Manassas, Va. to 2nd Street N.E., directly behind the Supreme Court and a few doors down from Jay Sekulow's American Center for Law and Justice. Announcement of staff changes and expansion will come soon, Marx said.

Conservative Action Project: A New Name For the Same Old Right-Wing Agenda

Several months ago, I wrote a post noting the emergence of the new right-wing coalition calling itself that Conservative Action Project. At the time, all that I could figure out about it was that its membership included several Religious Right leaders and it seemed to operate out of the Council for National Policy.

Today, the Washington Post examines the role that new media is playing in shaping and disseminating conservative messaging throughout the right-wing echo chamber and reports that the Conservative Action Project is playing a a key role in that effort through the weekly meetings hosted by the Family Research Council:

Inside the Beltway, much of it is fueled by the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a new group of conservative leaders chaired by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III. CAP, whose influential memos "for the movement" circulate on Capitol Hill, is an offshoot of the Council for National Policy, a highly secretive organization of conservative leaders and donors.

...

At 7:30 a.m., members of the Conservative Action Project gather at the Family Research Council, a social conservative group.

CAP grew out of a series of meetings of conservatives, determined to engineer a political comeback, in the weeks after Obama's election. One took place during a Council for National Policy meeting at a D.C. hotel, conservatives said. The secretive council was formed in the early 1980s to coordinate what was then called the "New Right."

Key players in CAP, members said, include Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway; Greg Mueller, president of CRC Public Relations; and former congressman David M. McIntosh (R-Ind.). Its only paid staff member is Patrick Pizzella, an official in the George W. Bush administration, who works out of the Council for National Policy offices.

Among CAP's projects was supporting the Health Care Freedom Coalition, whose more than 50 economic and social conservative groups quietly built health-care opposition, CAP members said. The coalition is a spinoff of FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based group that works extensively with tea-party activists.

CAP also worked unsuccessfully to defeat David F. Hamilton, Obama's first appellate judicial nominee. A Nov. 9 CAP memo calling Hamilton "an ideologue first and a jurist second" helped trigger blog blasts from Erickson and an anti-Hamilton speech at the conservative Federalist Society by Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Judiciary Committee Republican.

The ACLJ's Growing Worldwide Reach

Back in 1990, Pat Robertson created the American Center for Law and Justice as a right-wing alternative to the American Civil Liberties Union here in the United States.  But over the last two decades, and especially in recent years, the organization has begun focusing on work overseas and opening offices in different countries, creating that European Center for Law and Justice, based in Strasbourg, France, and the Slavic Center for Law and Justice, based in Moscow, Russia.

And now it looks like they are branching out into Africa as well, where the organization intends to play a role in helping draft constitutions in both Zimbabwe and Kenya:

The ACLJ does not take international expansion lightly. In fact, we do not expand unless we are called to. Each of our international offices - France, Russia, Israel, and Pakistan - was formed because the ACLJ was asked to come and help form organizations modeled on the ACLJ-USA. While each country expansion is unique, I wanted to tell you about why we're expanding into Africa, specifically Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Earlier this year, we were asked to accompany a women's ministry to Zimbabwe because the leaders of the ministry felt that our sophisticated legal assistance was needed. If you don't know much about Zimbabwe, know it is sanctioned by the United States, battling AIDS, and in the midst of an economic crisis. When we arrived in Zimbabwe in March, we were greeted warmly by citizens and government leaders. Now, just months after our first trip, we're opening a full-time office in the country's capital.

While our work in Zimbabwe focuses primarily on the country's constitution drafting process, we'll also be providing legal training and legal research facilities to attorneys throughout the country. Of course, one can never forget the hardships faced by the good people of Zimbabwe. We have taken proactive steps to assist orphanages and single mother's centers. In Zimbabwe, our mission is threefold: (1) help train attorneys while working on the draft constitution, (2) promote economic empowerment, and (3) provide humanitarian assistance when we are able. Part of the African Center for Law & Justice's launch in Harare is a neighborhood cleanup project in partnership with the City of Harare.

Our work in Kenya began a very different way. A good friend and pastor from a church in Iowa, who I met during the Iowa caucuses, introduced me to a well-known Bishop from Kenya who was interested in opening an operation similar to ACLJ-USA. Kenya, like Zimbabwe, is also going through a constitution drafting process and this Bishop wanted to make sure that he and the thousands of pastors that are part of his denomination knew how to properly comment on the draft constitution when speaking to their parishioners and the media. Because of Kenya's sizable Muslim population, estimated at about 10 million (roughly 1/4 of Kenya's population), this predominately Christian country is prepared to constitutionalize Kadhis' Courts (Kadhi is Arabic for judge) to handle matters such as family law, inheritance, marriage, and divorce. These would be official, binding courts in Kenya's judiciary.

The Bishop and his fellow pastors have decided to speak out against the constitutionalization of the Sharia Courts and have called on the ACLJ to travel to Kenya to setup a full-time legal and government affairs operation in Nairobi where we'll work with church leaders on this crucial issue.

Sen. Sessions' Newfound Love For the Filibuster

Back in 2005, when the Gang of 14 came together to thwart the Senate Republican majority's efforts to end the use of the filibuster against President Bush's judicial nominees, Sen. Jeff Sessions could barely hide his disappointment that he and his Republican colleagues did not get the chance to deploy the "nuclear option":

I am disappointed that this agreement did not provide the other nominees the right to a vote. I was prepared to support the Constitutional option, because these systematic filibusters amounted to an affront to the Constitution and could not be allowed to stand. I hope that all nominees will now receive fair treatment in this body and that the character assassinations and filibusters will disappear.

But now times have changed and Sessions is writing op-eds in the Washington Post saying that for Republicans not to filibuster President Obama's nominees would amount to "unilateral disarmament":

To be clear, I believe that the president is entitled to a reasonable degree of deference on his judicial nominations. I supported more than 90 percent of President Bill Clinton's judicial nominees, and I hope I am able to do the same for President Obama, even if they would not be my top choices.

But I take seriously the Senate's constitutionally mandated role to "advise and consent," and I am obligated to oppose nominees who have demonstrated either an unwillingness to subordinate themselves to the Constitution or a desire to advance a political, social or economic agenda from the bench.

This year, a number of my colleagues and I have voted against just three judicial nominees, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Only in the case of Judge Hamilton have we raised a procedural objection to Majority Leader Harry Reid's desire to proceed to a vote.

For Republicans to ignore the changed rules would be to acquiesce in a system where 60 votes are needed to confirm judges nominated by Republicans, but only 51 are required to confirm judges nominated by Democrats. To allow such a double standard would be akin to unilateral disarmament.

So Sessions hated the filibuster when it was being used against President Bush's nominees and wanted to get rid of it entirely, but was unable to do so due to an agreement among a handful of Senators, and now he is that it would be irresponsible for him not to launch filibusters against President Obama's nominees, despite saying just a few years back that he hoped that "filibusters will disappear"?

And for the record, Sessions' claim that he's "voted against just three" of Obama's judicial nominees means that he's voted against fully 30% of Obama nominees ... that would be akin a Democratic  senator having voted against nearly 100 [PDF] of President Bush's judicial nominees.

Remember Back When the Right Hated The Filibuster?

Once upon a time, activists on the Right were vehemently opposed to the use of the filibuster against judicial nominees, declaring on principle that its use was flagrantly unconstitutional and calling on Senate Republicans to do away with the Democratic minority's ability to use them against President Bush's nominees.

But then President Obama took office and made a Supreme Court nomination and those "principles" went right out the window and suddenly those who had been, just a few years earlier, decrying the filibuster as downright evil were championing it.

Which brings us to this new Conservative Action Project "Memo to the Movement" demanding a filibuster of Seventh Circuit nominee David Hamilton:

We agree with Senator Sessions that indeed this is one of those extraordinary circumstances where the President should be informed that his nominee is not qualified. "Extraordinary circumstances" is the standard agreed to by the bipartisan Gang of 14 for when it is permissible to block a confirmation vote against judicial nominees. The Senate should apply it now to stop the Hamilton nomination ... Judge Hamilton is precisely the kind of liberal judicial activist who would use our federal courts as his own super-legislature. The Senate should vote no on the cloture vote to stop this nomination.

The memo is signed by the following group and I have taken the liberty of highlighting those individuals or organizations who, during the Bush presidency, signed on to letters [PDF] demanding an end to the use of the filibuster

Marion Edwyn Harrison, President, Free Congress Foundation
Edwin Meese, former Attorney General
Mathew D. Staver, Founder & Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America
Cleta Mitchell, American Conservative Union Board of Directors
J. Kenneth Blackwell, Visiting Professor, Liberty University School of Law
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
Curt Levey, Executive Director, Committee for Justice
Colin A. Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Susan Carleson, Chairman & CEO, American Civil Rights Union
William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government
Kay Daly, President, Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
T. Kenneth Cribb, former Counselor to the U.S. Attorney General
Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director, Traditional Values Coalition
David Keene, Chairman, American Conservative Union
Gary Bauer, President, American Values
Phil Burress, President, Citizens for Community Values

Jim Martin, President, 60 Plus Association
David McIntosh, former Member of Congress, Indiana
Tom Winter, Editor in Chief, Human Events
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Alfred Regnery, Publisher, American Spectator
Becky Norton Dunlop, President, Council for National Policy
Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

By my count, 15 of 24 individuals listed of this memo demanding a filibuster of Hamilton either signed, or represent an organization which signed, a letter just a few years back demanding an end to the use of the filibuster.

Sessions Seeks To Filibuster David Hamilton, Leave Him In "Unconscionable Limbo"

Back in March, President Obama nominated David Hamilton to a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and immediately the Right set about trying to kill his nomination. They failed and Hamilton was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in June and has since been waiting for a confirmation vote on the Senate floor. 

And if Sen. Jeff Sessions gets his way, Hamilton won't ever get one, as Sessions is trying to round up support for a filibuster of his nomination by sending around a letter [PDF] to his colleagues laying out his opposition to the nomination which concludes with this telling choice of language:

This is not the type of service that should be rewarded with a promotion. Indeed, this is one of those extraordinary circumstances where the President should be informed that his nominee is not qualified. [emphasis added]'

Back in 2005 when the Gang of 14 sought to prevent Republicans in the Senate from deploying the "nuclear option" by doing away with the use of the filibuster on nominations altogether, seven members of each party agreed that they would only support future filibusters under, you guessed it, "extraordinary circumstances": 

Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should be filibustered only under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.

Hamilton was literally the very first judicial nomination made by President Obama and he has the support of his home state senator, Richard Lugar ... but Sessions seeks to prevent an up-or-down vote on his nomination, which is quite a change from what he was saying back when President Bush was still in office:

I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to put an anonymous hold on a judge; that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don't like somebody the President nominates, vote him or her up or down. But don't hold them in this anonymous unconscionable limbo...

UPDATE: The above quote attributed to Sen. Sessions was actually Sessions quoting Sen. Leahy, though the context of the entire quote still makes clear that Sen. Sessions opposed the use of the filibuster against judicial nominations: 

But this delay makes a mockery of the Constitution, makes a mockery of the fact that we are here working, and makes a mockery of the lives of the very sincere people who have put themselves forward to be judges and then they hang out here in limbo. Senator Leahy, now leading the filibuster, was on the floor talking about that. Back when the Clinton administration was submitting judges, he said:

I have had judicial nominations by both Democrat and Republican Presidents that I intended to oppose. But I fought like mad to make sure they at least got a chance to be on the floor for a vote. I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to put an anonymous hold on a judge; that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don't like somebody the President nominates, vote him or her up or down. But don't hold them in this anonymous unconscionable limbo. .....

Well, I see Chairman Hatch is here. I know the time is a bit drawn. Chairman Hatch and the Republican leadership have been consistent on this issue, even when it was not to their political benefit to do so. We have opposed the idea of filibusters and have not supported it. The Democrats oppose them when it is convenient and support them when it is convenient. I think their position is untenable as a matter of principle and as a matter of public policy, and our country will not be better off for filibustering judges.

As do other previous quotes from Sen. Sessions:

Of the many reasons why we shouldn't have a filibuster, an important one is the Article I of the Constitution. It says the Senate shall advise and consent on treaties by a two-thirds vote, and simply "shall advise and consent" on nominations.

Historically, we have understood that provision to mean--and I think there is no doubt the Founders understood that to mean--that a treaty confirmation requires a two-thirds vote, but confirmation of a judicial nomination requires only a simple majority vote. That is why we have never had a filibuster. People on both sides of the aisle have understood it to be wrong. They have understood it to be in violation of the Constitution.

...

I think the American people are getting engaged, and they are telling us "we are tired of obstructionism," "we are tired of delays," and "we believe these nominees deserve an up-and-down vote." I could not agree more.

"Professor" David Barton On Darwin, Prohibition, and Herbert Hoover

Last week, David Barton spoke at at an event hosted by the South Dakota Family Policy Council.  Before the event, he sat down for an interview with The Dakota Voice during which this exchange took place:

Among all the people today pushing the revisionist picture of our history that most of the founders were deists, that America was not founded on Christian principles, how many of those do you believe are merely ignorant of the facts and are only parroting other misinformation they’ve heard, and how many actually know better and are intentionally trying to distort history?

I think there’s a lot of both. I was involved in writing an academic book with three other professors. They said there is no question that America’s founders weren’t religious, because Thomas Jefferson started the first secular university, wouldn’t allow chaplains and such. But I said that’s interesting because I have here the original ads for the University of Virginia that ran in the newspaper. The ads were signed by the chaplain and there were about nine or ten specific things Thomas Jefferson did to make sure every student had a religious activity. These professors were shocked and said, “That’s not what we were taught.” [Emphasis added.]

Three other professors? Considering that Barton's academic credentials consist entirely of a "B.A. from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College," I'm a little confused as to how Barton managed to write a book with three other professors  since Barton is not, you know, actually a professor; he's a Religious Right activist.

Anyway, the conversation then turned toward the inevitable "how did conservative Christians lose control of America" question, for which Barton had a simple explanation - Darwin, prohibition, and Herbert Hoover:

I think we really goofed it up starting in the 1920s, and it was the church that did it ... I’ll point to several things. In 1859 you had the Origin of Species, and I don’t know why people think Darwin was the father of evolution because all he did was take 2,300 years of evolutionary thought and simplify it. But for the next 20 years the church had real trouble with that. In about 1879 you’ll find major splits in most denominations, and the splits started saying, “Well, we’re not sure about the Bible and science and the culture, but we do know God wants people saved so we’re going to go preach the Gospel.” The other side said, “No, the Bible is right; science will come around.” This side said the Bible is fundamental to everything in life: media, culture, science.

Following that you had three major political setbacks in the 1920s. Those setbacks start with the repeal of prohibition, which was a direct slap at the church. You have the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, which was the trial that essentially lost the war, the media beat the dickens out of us and made Christians look like dummies. And the third one was actually the election of Herbert Hoover. Christians like Billy Sunday campaigned all across America in whistle stop tours. Hoover gets elected, the depression comes, and the critics said, “Look what you Christians did; you caused the depression. You Christians need to stay out of politics.”

About that time we stared pulling our kids out of the pulpit, “Kids, you want to do something good for God? Be a pastor, be a missionary, but don’t be anything in education, law or politics. So we bailed out. So in bailing out, somebody has to fill those arenas, and they got filled.

There are really five power centers in any culture, and we gave up for and a half of them. We gave up media and entertainment, we gave up government which is the judiciary and law, we gave up education, and we gave up business. What we still had left was pulpit, and we essentially gave up half of that. We’ve taken the Great Commission to be a mandate for salvation, when the Great Commission says to teach them everything I taught you. Jesus has economic teachings, he has social teachings, government teachings, but we don’t do that.

But getting any institution back takes 30 or 40 years, and that’s where we are now.

From WND to The Halls of Congress, Where Intern = Spy

TPM has been doing an excellent job chronicling the latest instance in which the insanity spread by WorldNetDaily has made its way into the mouths of Republican members of Congress as they demand various investigations of the Council on American Islamic Relations' efforts to get "spies" placed on Capitol Hill. 

Said "spies" turned out to be "interns" and TPM has gotten its hands on the CAIR memo at the center of this allegation:

We will impact local congressional districts with each chapter influencing at least two legislators through strong grass roots responses. We will focus on influencing congressmen responsible for policy that directly impacts the American Muslim community. (For example congressmen on the judiciary, intelligence, and homeland security committee.) We will develop national initiatives such as a lobby day and placing Muslim interns in Congressional offices. We will work to add at least 30,000 new voter registrations.

That is what several Republican members of Congress are citing as evidence that CAIR is "running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices"? 

By that standard, I hereby demand an investigation into how Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School managed to place more than 150 of its graduates in federal government positions following President Bush's election in 2001.

From the Pages of WorldNetDaily to the Halls of Congress

The Hill reports that several Republican members of Congress are demanding an investigation into allegations that the Council on American Islamic Relations tried to plant "spies" in the national security apparatus:

Republican members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus say the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), tried to plant “spies” within key national security committees to shape legislative policy in its favor.

Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), citing the recently released book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, called for the House sergeant at arms to investigate whether CAIR had been successful in placing interns on key committees. The lawmakers are specifically focused on the House Homeland Security Committee, Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee.

“If an organization is connected to or supports terrorists [and] is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices I think this needs to be made known,” Broun said. “So I join my colleagues here today in calling for action.”

The book, which was written by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry with a forward by Myrick, is scheduled to be released Thursday.

I think this tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this book and its legitimacy:

The Consequences For Failing Manny Miranda? Nothing

With Sonia Sotomayor's nomination having been voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a vote of 13-6, she is scheduled to get a floor vote next week where it is expected that she will be easily confirmed.

Resigned to the inevitable, right-wing are doing all they can to spin this as a victory that will pay huge dividends in future elections:

"Republicans can reap significant political benefits by voting against her confirmation and making her an issue in key races next year," conservative activist Ralph Reed told his supporters in a memo.

Voters will remember that "it is a gun vote, and this was not a judge vote. It was a racial quota vote. She is for quotas," added Grover Norquist, a leading conservative activist, in an interview.

...

Norquist said conservatives can paint Sotomayor as a dangerous liberal just like President Barack Obama.

"She tarnishes him a little bit," said Norquist, who is president of Americans for Tax Reform and a member of the NRA board of directors.

In the Washington Independent, David Weigel provides more insight into this effort:

“The Republican senators did much better than I expected,” said Manny Miranda, the chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a judicial conservative umbrella group that opposed Sotomayor’s nomination largely behind the scenes.

In early June, Miranda had been bearish on the Republican conference, doubtful that it would put up a fight. He called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “limp-wristed” and organized 145 conservative activists to campaign for a filibuster of Sotomayor, which they’re not going to get. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), in announcing his opposition to the nominee, admitted that her confirmation was probably inevitable. Yet they feel like the debate over Sotomayor was as much as a conservative success as it could have possibly been, and they see a chance to give the nominee the lowest level of support from the opposition party since the bruising 1991 fight over Clarence Thomas.

“When we started, I didn’t expect more than 16 ‘no’ votes,” said Miranda. “Now I think we may go as high as 29 votes. We’ve achieved quite a lot.”

...

“The NRA’s decision to score the vote is a huge statement,” said Curt Levey, director of the Committee for Justice. “They were hesitant to get involved. Even if Sotomayor is eventually confirmed, the fact that the NRA came to realize the importance of Supreme Court nominations in protecting gun rights is a very big deal. The grassroots have been activated.”

Sotomayor is widely expected to be confirmed next week and you'll notice that all of Miranda's strident demands that Republicans lead a filibuster against her seem to have disappeared, as have his repeated assertions that any vote on her nomination before the August recess would be glaring failure of Republican leadership:

The mark of failed Republican leadership -- already strong-armed by Democrats on hearing scheduling -- will certainly be allowing a confirmation vote before the August recess that denies time to senators and to the American people. Republican leaders will fail too if their only goal is to mirror the 22-22 Democrat vote for Judge Roberts and simply deliver 20 Republicans for and 20 against.

Miranda and company had one demand of Senate Republicans: Under no circumstances allow a vote on Sotomayor's nomination before the August recess. Yet that is exactly what is going to happen and, instead of blasting them for their failure, Miranda is praising them for a job well done because their token opposition will be slightly bigger than he initially imagined.

Why is the Right suddenly so forgiving?  Maybe because they knew all along that their efforts weren't going to stop Sotomayor and they were just trying to pick a fight and look important, which is essentially what Curt Levey admitted to Weigel:

“The goal isn’t to defeat Sotomayor,” explained Levey. “It’s to send enough of a warning shot that future nominees won’t be as hostile to the Constitution.”

The Committee for Justice, for example, developed five ads formatted for television and newspapers, one of which compared Sotomayor’s work for the Puerto Rican Defense Fund to President Obama’s friendship with reformed Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. It got plenty of attention; people clicked through to the committee’s site, and some donated. But TV viewers won’t see that particular attack on their screens. “I don’t think the ad was effective,” Levey admitted. “We’ll run some ads in the final week, but I don’t think we’ll run that ad.”

 

Surprise! The Right Opposes Sotomayor

In a move that nobody could have ever predicted, 150+ right-wing activists have signed on to a letter to the Senate opposing the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court:

156 conservative and constitutional cause leaders and citizens have signed a letter to members of the U.S. Senate expressing opposition to the confirmation of President Obama's nominee to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

One of the letter's signers, Richard A. Viguerie, said, "The media and Republicans aren't defining President Obama as an extremist politically and constitutionally; therefore, it is up to us conservatives. It is also important that a message be sent that, while Republicans may not be unified in opposing Obama's dangerous and unconstitutional agenda, conservatives and other constitutionalists are united."

"President Obama has nominated a radical judicial activist who apparently feels the need to mask her outrageous statements, rulings and writings over the years with the soothing words of a constitutionalist," said Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. "Perhaps the Left has discovered that the American people most certainly do not want the Constitution to be radically altered on the whims of empathy. Sotomayor's extremist actions throughout the years speak far more loudly than the pretty words she spoke at her confirmation hearing. A 'no' vote for Sotomayor is a 'yes' vote for the Constitution," Daly said.

...

Among the 156 who signed the letter are: Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice and Manny Miranda of Third Branch; plus: Gary Aldrich, Bob Barr, Morton Blackwell, Brent Bozell, Floyd Brown, KellyAnne Conway, Janice Shaw Crouse, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Elaine Donnelly, Joseph Farah, Alan Gottlieb, Colin Hanna, Andrea Lafferty, Jeffrey Mazzella, Chuck Muth, Tony Perkins, Larry Pratt, William Redpath, Al Regnery, David Ridenour, Ron Robinson, Ilya Shapiro, Rev. Lou Sheldon, Matt Staver, Herb Titus and Wendy Wright.

The letter itself can be found here [PDF]:

We urge the Senate to reject Judge Sotomayor. Judge Sotomayor should remain a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals where her decisions would be subject to the check of the Supreme Court.

President Obama should nominate another candidate whose views of judicial power are demonstrably consistent with Article III of the Constitution. That means the next nominee’s views of the judiciary should be demonstrably inconsistent with the President’s, whose views are not consistent with Article III, even before that nominee’s confirmation hearings.

Given that Manuel Miranda is involved and that this letter is very much in keeping with how he operates, one is inclined to assume that this is another Third Branch Conference effort, though it may not be as neither the letter nor the press release list Miranda or the Conference as organizers, as is normally the case.

Perhaps it is some joint effort among various groups, which seems likely given that Richard Viguerie, Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, and Kay Daly of the Coalition for a Fair Judicary are all featured and listed as contacts on the press release.

Noticeably, once again nobody from the Judicial Confirmation Network has signed on to the letter, which suggests that JCN either refused to join these activists or continues to be being shunned by them (Miranda recently dismissed them as "an arm of [the] Republican leadership.")

So despite the fact that, out of every right-wing group trying to rally opposition to Sotomayor, the JCN was by far the most tenacious and high-profile, nobody in this coalition seems to view them as a legitimate force.  Instead they align themselves with the likes of Kay Daly and her phony Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, which has been utterly AWOL and did, quite literally, nothing during the entire Sotomayor nomination.

Interesting strategy.

Can Someone Be Too Crazy For Janet Porter? Yes and No

Despite the fact that we had apparently written about him a few times, I was not familiar with Ted Pike until today.  We had apparently mentioned him back in 2006 when he signed on to some letter with a bunch of other right-wing activists like Paul Weyrich, Sandy Rios, Robert Knight, Dr. Paul Cameron, Peter LaBarbera, Gary Glenn, and Brian Camenker calling on then-Governor Mitt Romney "to declare immediately that homosexual “marriage” licenses issued in violation of the law are illegal and to issue an order to all state and local officials to cease violating the law."

And we mentioned him again not long after that when he said that hate crimes legislation was “the most dangerous legislation ever to come before Congress,” claiming that it would “lead inexorably to the end of free speech.”

But that was about it, until I stumbled across this post he wrote on his National Prayer Network website complaining about how his right-wing allies don't want to be seen as having anything to do with him:

For the past seven months, I have repeatedly seen the religious right ignore vital information about the hate bill threat and opportunities to defeat it for only one possible reason: they didn't want to be seen as influenced by me.

After Janet Porter, head of Faith2Action, informed me that conservative witnesses were being turned away by Sen. Leahy’s Senate Judiciary Committee, I immediately quoted her, mounting a national campaign of protest. She called back to tell me that Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition and some of her radio listeners had “reamed her out" for even talking to me! She warned me that if ever again I mentioned publicly that I had talked to her, she would never answer any call from me -- even concerning an imminent hate bill threat!

Now why would Janet Porter get "reamed out" by Andrea Lafferty for talking to Pike?

Maybe this is why:

Ted Pike, the national director of the Oregon-based National Prayer Network, has for years engaged in an anti-Semitic campaign that denigrates the Jewish religion, as well as what he perceives as Jewish-controlled organizations and leaders. Through a series of Web-based articles, Internet radio interviews, videotapes, and books, Pike constantly claims Jewish control over the government and media and asserts Jewish hatred of Christians and the alleged desire of "evil" Jewish leaders and organizations to control what Christian Americans do and say.

To promote his virulent anti-Semitic ideology, Pike often works under the guise of opposing federal hate crimes legislation and upholding free speech and Christian values. He gives interviews to extremist cable TV and Internet radio shows to further disseminate his anti-Semitic views and also links from his organization's Website to various anti-Semitic sites. Similarly, a variety of extremists, including neo-Nazis, post Pike's columns to their own hate sites, where they praise Pike's anti-Semitic invective.

It should be pointed out that Porter had Pike on her radio show on both May 4 and April 28 of this year and that, at least according to Pike, she didn't say that she was going to stop talking to him, merely that she would stop taking his calls only if he mentioned publicly that they were in contact.

I've often wondered just what someone would have to do in order to be shunned by the likes of Janet Porter, considering that she apparently knows no limits herself.  Now we know: promote virulent anti-Semitic ideology ... and only then will they be cut off if they make their connection to Porter known. 

Have I mentioned that Porter is going to be co-hosting the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference featuring Mike Huckabee and Michelle Bachmann and served as co-chair of Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition during his presidential campaign?  Just wanted to point that out.

Right Seeks An Extra Month To Mount Anti-Sotomayor Campaign

The Senate Judiciary Committee has an Executive Business Meeting for tomorrow at which Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court will be on the schedule.  It is widely expected that Committee Republicans will seek a one-week delay on the vote, pushing it back until July 28th.

President Obama has made it clear that he wants to see a confirmation vote in the Senate before it leaves for its August recess, which is scheduled to begin on August 10th.

That would leave the Senate with a little more than a week to bring her nomination to the floor for a vote and it is assumed that efforts to get her confirmed before the recess will be successful ... and that is, predictably, angering right-wing groups who hope to use the August recess to try and build a campaign to oppose her nomination:

Republicans had their own political pressures as well. With seven GOP men on the Judiciary Committee, they did not want to appear overly aggressive with Sotomayor, who would become just the third female justice. And given that they lack enough votes to sustain a filibuster, even if they wanted to, attempting to delay the seating of a nominee who will almost certainly be confirmed would likely cost them support from Latinos, a fast-growing constituency that is already voting heavily Democratic. As a result, they're backing down on earlier demands to delay a final vote until September.

"In any case, conservatives will not be happy if the GOP rolls over with regard to Obama's politically motivated goal of getting Sotomayor confirmed before the August recess," said Curt Levey, head of the conservative group Committee for Justice.

While some conservatives say that GOP senators effectively laid out inconsistencies in her testimony, activists want the slow-news month of August - when Congress is on recess – to build a campaign opposing her nomination.

Charmaine Yoest, head of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life who testified against Sotomayor, said that an extra month would be helpful to her cause.

"The more time we have to educate people, the more we would continue to emphasize to people that a vote for her is a vote for abortion on demand without any restrictions whatsoever," Yoest said.

Presumably, as the August deadline approaches, we'll be hearing a lot more from Manuel Miranda and his Third Branch Coalition, which has made delaying Sotomayor's confirmation vote until September a test of loyalty  for GOP senators and been consistently urging the use of a filibuster in order to achieve the desired delay.

Whether or not Republicans in the Senate bow to the Right's demands remains to be seen.

Sotomayor Day II: Let The Antics Begin

After disrupting yesterday's hearing, anti-choice protesters affiliated with Randall Terry are vowing more action:

Next on the agenda:

"Desecrate Roe" Event Details---

Where: Corner of 1st and C St., near Dirksen Senate Building entrance, Washington D.C.

When: 9:00 A.M., Tuesday, July 14

Who: Norma McCorvey, Randall Terry and other DC area leaders and pro-lifers

Pro-life advocates will gather at the Dirksen building at the corner of 1st and C St., to publicly desecrate the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision. Joining her will be Randall Terry, Missy Smith, and other local pro-life leaders.

Randall Terry states, "Victory over child-killing requires courage and leadership from 'pro-life' Senators from both parties. It is long overdue for so called 'pro-life' Senators to fulfill their campaign promises. They claim they want to overturn Roe; well, now is the time to see if they will defend the babies, or submit like cowards to Obama.

"Republican 'Pro-life' Senators bear special responsibility in this; they shamelessly prostitute Roe vs. Wade and babies lives. Does 'GOP' stand for 'Good Ol' Pimps'? Or will GOP Senators actually fight in this life and death struggle? They need to filibuster Sotomayor."

Will there be more arrests? To be seen...

Not to be outdone, Eugene Delgaudio and Public Advocate plan to be descend on Capitol Hill to create their own scene:

"Public Advocate's Sotomayor's UnReality Tour" arrives in Washington Tuesday to show what a world according to Judge Sonia Sotomayer would look like if she were a Supreme Court judge.

Lifeguards who can't swim. A doctor who flunked med school. A 3rd grade university president. Blind train conductors. Cooks who can't boil water. Lawyers who did not pass the bar exam but who are now judges.

Demonstrators will hold a sign "Sonia Sotomayor, Wrong on the firemen, wrong for America." Another member of Public Advocate will hold a sign with the words "Thanks to Sonia Sotomayor, I flunked med school and am now a doctor."

In related news, Randall Terry continues his broadsides against Republican senators:

"Does the 'GOP' stand for 'Good Ol' Pimps'? Republican Senators like Graham, Brownback, McCain, etc., have seduced the pro-life movement, made her their mistress, and then a prostitute. She gives them her 'favors' in exchange for empty promises.

"They pimp the pro-life cause, raising millions of dollars with promises to 'overturn Roe' and protect the unborn. The party platform - their false vows - calls for the overturn of Roe, and legal protection of unborn babies.

"But alas, we again see that these are seductive lies; and like any good pimp, they tell us that they love us, while they sell us out; they feign pain as we are abused and babies are murdered, while they prepare to get in bed with those who despise us, and slay the innocent.

"Our protests and rallies over the coming weeks will focus on GOP Senators who claim to be pro-life. We will call on them to stop pimping the babies, but rather to fight for them by filibustering Sotomayor."

Richard Viguerie claims that "Sotomayor's opening statement reflects she is already being defensive about the judicial philosophy she shares with President Obama."

Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission come out against Sotomayor:

Sonia Sotomayor’s record reveals that she is perfectly willing to lift the blindfold of justice to achieve her desired result. She is a judge with a terribly flawed view of the judicial system at best or a judge who simply doesn’t care what the law says at worst. She has constantly shown her lack of deference to the Constitution. She is the type of justice who instead of applying the law neutrally will redefine the law to conform to her policy preferences.

The bottom line is that Sonia Sotomayor is an unpredictable wildcard. Across the issues her record is either far too thin or hidden behind non-published orders and per curium opinions. Simply put, placing Sonia Sotomayor on the highest court in the land jeopardizes our nation’s commitment to equal treatment under the law.

The Family Research Council posts the Senate Policy Committee talking points in opposing Sotomayor while releasing its own list of questions it wants asked during the hearing:

Abortion and the Supreme Court

* Judge Sotomayor, while you were associated with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, it filed six briefs in five abortion-related cases before the United States Supreme Court. In every case, those briefs asserted that the Court should adopt an uncompromising, pro-abortion position. Do you now wish to express any disagreement with the content of the briefs that were filed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund?

The Abortion Industry as Litigants

* Judge Sotomayor, do you believe abortion providers should be required to prove factual assertions they make in court when challenging abortion regulations?

* Judge Sotomayor, should redacted medical records be admissible, if needed by the court, to examine general medical claims about abortion?When should such records not be made available to the court?

* Judge Sotomayor, should prosecutors be permitted to subpoena and examine abortion facility records to determine whether state statutory rape laws have been violated or whether the facility is reporting potential crimes to the appropriate legal authorities?

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life tells Lifenews that she is looking forward to testifying in opposition to Sotomayor:

“We are honored to have the opportunity to testify before the Judiciary Committee about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the highest court in the land," Yoest told LifeNews.com about her invitation.

"I am looking forward to sharing AUL’s extensive legal research about Judge Sotomayor’s record. In particular, her radical associations and judicial philosophy raises serious concerns in the pro-life community," she said.

Yoest is referring to Sotomayor's tenure with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, a group that has submitted numerous Supreme Court briefs arguing for an unrestricted right to abortion and claiming any pro-life limits are racist.

Although leaders with the group argue Sotomayor had no involvement in writing or approving the briefs, her longtime position as a member of its board of directors points to her support for the pro-abortion position the group took, Yoest maintains.

Yoest told LifeNews.com she plans to focus her testimony on making the connection for the senators and the American public between the positions taken by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund during her tenure on the Board and her judicial interventionist approach to the bench.

“Her PRLDEF record proves that she is an abortion advocate," Yoest says.

"That record includes opposition to parental notification, opposition to informed consent, opposition to bans on partial-birth abortion and support for taxpayer-funded abortions. These positions are far outside the mainstream of American public opinion," she explained.

And finally, Pat Buchanan continues to be ... well, Pat Buchanan:

The chutzpah of this Beltway crowd does not cease to amaze.

They archly demand that conservatives accord a self-described “affirmative action baby” from Princeton a respect they never for a moment accorded a pro-life conservative mother of five from Idaho State, Sarah Palin.

...

Sonia is, first and foremost, a Latina. She has not hesitated to demand, even in college and law school, ethnic and gender preferences for her own. Her concept of justice is race-based.

...

Even if Sotomayor is confirmed, making the nation aware she is a militant supporter since college days of ethnic and gender preferences is an assignment worth pursuing. For America does not believe in preferences. Even in the blue states of California, Washington and Michigan, voters have tossed them out as naked discrimination against white males.

Before A Single Question Has Been Asked, JCN Renders Its Verdict

The first day of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing is now complete.  The day was dedicated to opening statements from all sides and no questions were asked ... but that doesn't matter to the Judicial Confirmation Network, which declares that "the verdict on [her nomination] is 'no'" without even bothering to wait to hear her answers:

We have seen enough to conclude that nothing that Judge Sotomayor or her liberal backers say in her hearings this week can alter the significant record before us, and accordingly, we are today asking Senators to vote “no” on her nomination. Far more relevant than whatever she says this week, as a result of White House coaching, is what she has said and done in the past. In short, past performance is indicative of future results. Her record of decisions and statements is a far better predictor of what she would do in the future as a Supreme Court Justice than any self-serving testimony she may offer this week ... Senators will begin to focus on the details of her record in the next few weeks. We do not want them to mistakenly conclude that what she says during this week’s Judiciary Committee hearings can outweigh what she has done and said over the past 30 years. The verdict on Sonia Sotomayor should be “no.”

The JCN actually released this statement before Sotomayor had even delivered her opening statement.  It's quite a contrast to what they were saying back around the time of John Roberts' confirmation hearing, when they were attacking "extremist liberals" for "politicizing" the hearings and demanding "fair and respectful hearings":

"This selection also underscores the President's commitment to making sure the Supreme Court is fully staffed to do the nation's judicial business as soon as possible. This will be a real test for extreme liberal partisans: will they put down their ideological attack weapons and allow the confirmation process to move forward smoothly and swiftly, both for Judge Roberts and for the second nominee the President will soon name? In the spirit of serving our country's best interests, as Chief Justice Rehnquist did selflessly for 33 years, they certainly should. This would be the best way to pay homage to the late Chief, who as a public servant kept the Court open and showed up for work even in blizzards that shut down much of Washington D.C., and who worked hard even when he was in physical pain. The Senate should likewise work hard to do its job of completing fair and respectful hearings on the President's nominees as quickly and efficiently as possible."

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Judiciary Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 04/12/2011, 10:12am
As we have previously noted, right-wing activists have waged a year-long smear campaign against legal scholar Goodwin Liu, who was nominated by President Obama to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Liu’s nomination was not acted on in the last Congress; he had his second confirmation hearing on March 2, 2011, and on April 7, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination. In the wake of that approval, Religious Right activists are ramping up their rhetoric and demanding that Republican senators block Liu’s confirmation. On Sunday, the Oak Initiative, a... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/24/2011, 12:10pm
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell nominated Don Haase, a former candidate for the state House of Representatives, to serve on the state's Judicial Council, the board which nominates candidates for open judgeship positions. During his confirmation hearing, it was discovered that Hasse was formerly the president of the Eagle Forum's state affiliate ... and that he thinks people should prosecuted for having sex outside of marriage:  Gov. Sean Parnell's appointee for the panel that nominates state judges testified Wednesday that he would like to see Alaskans prosecuted for having sex outside of... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/22/2011, 10:08am
Rep. Randy Forbes is on a mission to pass a resolution affirming that the national motto "In God We Trust" and House Republicans are playing right along, so it is no surprise that Religious Right activists like the Family Research Council's Ken Klukowski are stepping up to make their contribution to this important effort as well: Odds are good the Founding Fathers would be astounded by the religious controversies of this past week. First, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-VA, introduced a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as our national motto. He did so in part after... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/18/2011, 12:34pm
After accusing President Obama of acting like a “despot” over his support of gay-rights, Mario Diaz of Concerned Women for America now claims that Democratic Senators are introducing “homosexual quotas” for judicial nominations. Currently there are two openly gay federal judges, both are women nominated by President Clinton. Diaz says that Democrats care more about judges’ “sexual preferences” than their judicial philosophies, but at the same time maintains that Democrats only want judges who have a “radically liberal philosophy.” Since... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/16/2011, 10:56am
As personhood legislation sprouts up in states like Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Iowa, the radical anti-choice group Personhood USA also hopes to introduce their extreme (and unconstitutional) legislation in North Dakota. Personhood bills criminalize abortion and certain forms of birth control by granting legal rights to zygotes, declaring it a separate ‘person’ from the mother. Many doctors believe that such legislation would ban in vitro fertilization and prohibit doctors from giving medical assistance to women with serious pregnancy complications like ectopic pregnancies.... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/02/2011, 10:54am
Legal scholar Goodwin Liu, President Obama’s nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is receiving a second hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Liu, who is an Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the Berkeley School of Law and a renowned legal scholar, has unsurprisingly found himself to be a top target of right-wing activists. Ed Whalen of the Nation Review accuses Liu of “trying to fool senators and get himself appointed to the Ninth Circuit, where he would (among countless opportunities for mischief)” overrule California’s Proposition 8. In... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 4:49pm
The Montana State House is currently considering legislation that would prevent the city of Missoula from implementing an anti-discrimination ordinance that includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The legislation, proposed by Republican State Rep. Kristin Hansen, would prohibit local governments from going farther than state law in enacting protected classes, was passed out of committee after they rejected an effort to expand the state law. Since Montana does not have a statewide protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, Missoula’... MORE