Facts Optional When It Come to Judges

As we have noted before, there appears to be something about the issue of judicial nominations that makes the Right take leave of their senses.  

For example, Vision America’s Rick Scarborough frets about the Democratic take-over of the Senate in January but insists that, despite the election results, “the American people elected George W. Bush in 2004 with the expectation that he would keep his campaign promise to nominate judges” who share the Right’s agenda regardless of which party controlled the Senate and is urging him to ignore calls to nominate any sort of “compromise” candidates.

To this end, Scarborough claims


When Clinton was president, there was no talk of compromise candidates. Our 42nd President put hard leftists like Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the bench.


The only thing that can be taken from this ridiculous claim is that Scarborough either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the facts because, as Senator Orrin Hatch recounted in his autobiography, at a time when Democrats controlled the Senate and he was merely the ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, President Clinton still conferred with him when it came to potential nominees for the Supreme Court

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer’s name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.

In the end … he nominated Judge Ginsburg and Judge Breyer a year later, when Harry Blackmun retired from the Court. Both were confirmed with relative ease.

Scarborough is not the only one who seems oblivious to history, no matter how recent. In Human Events, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton writes that


Liberals in the Senate have turned the judicial confirmation process on its head, obstructing the President’s judicial nominees for political reasons. They even resorted to launching judicial filibusters, ignoring the constitutional directive to provide up-or-down votes on all judicial nominees. Why? Not because the nominees were unqualified. But rather because they didn’t like the nominees’ philosophy of judicial restraint.


As we have noted repeatedly, if folks on the Right are really concerned about judicial nominees being denied a vote because one or more senators don’t “like the nominees’ philosophy,” perhaps they can start hounding Sen. Sam Brownback to lift his hold on the nomination of Janet Neff –  a hold that Brownback says is going to continue indefinitely

“I’m still looking at the Neff situation, and I will in the future,” Brownback said.

Neff has said she attended [a same-sex commitment ceremony] as a friend of one of the two women, a longtime neighbor.

Neff has declined to answer Brownback’s queries on whether the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage or civil unions, saying it would be improper to address questions that might come before her as a federal judge.

Brownback called gay marriage a developing area of the law best not left to the judiciary anyway.

“To me these issues should be decided by the legislative bodies, not by the judicial bodies, and it seems to me this may indicate some view of hers on the legal issue. And that’s what I’m concerned about here, is her view of the legal issue involving same-sex marriage,” Brownback said.

One has to marvel at Scarborough’s willingness to claim that there is no need for consultation or compromise on Supreme Court nominees despite the standard set by Hatch and Clinton – and Fitton’s willingness to blast Democrats for opposing nominees based on philosophy at a time when Brownback is doing exactly that.   

Never let it be said that the Right will let pesky things like facts get in the way of their partisan polemics.