Specter Tests Obama’s Bipartisanship

A few weeks ago I made a short mention of the fact that various right-wing judicial activists were calling on Barack Obama to re-nominate a few of President Bush’s judicial nominees who never received confirmation as a sign of bipartisanship. 

It appears as if this idea is gaining traction because yesterday the Committee for Justice posted a letter that Sen. Arlen Specter sent to President Obama asking him to do just that:

I write to respectfully suggest that, as a sign of bipartisanship, you renominate some of President George W. Bush’s circuit court nominees who were not confirmed prior to the adjournment of the 110th Congress. To do so would echo the bipartisanship President Bush demonstrated when he renominated one of President Clinton’s judicial nominees, Judge Roger Gregory, to a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Several of President Bush’s circuit court nominees had bipartisan support and were not confirmed due to asserted time constraints. I believe these nominees in particular deserve your consideration. Mr. Peter Keisler, nominee to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, had bipartisan support and garnered praise from across the country, including the editorial boards of The L.A. Times and The Washington Post. In addition, Judge Paul Diamond, nominee to the Third Circuit, and Judge Glen Conrad, nominee to the Fourth Circuit, had bipartisan support, including the support of their Democratic home state Senators. All three nominees were rated “well qualified” by the nonpartisan American Bar Association and would be excellent candidates for renomination.

It was just the other day that I noted that many of these activists were lying in wait and saving their ammunition for anticipated court battles so it is probably safe that assume that if President Obama declines to acquiesce to their request, they’ll immediately use it as a justification for obstructing his judicial nominees.

Of course, as demonstrated by his recent efforts to work with Republicans to pass the stimulus bill only to watch them unanimously vote against it, Obama probably doesn’t have much to gain by trying to reach out to them since they’ll inevitably just find some other excuse to justify their obstruction, regardless of what he does.