The Amazing Transformation of the Judicial Confirmation Network

Again, I feel compelled to ask why the folks at the Judicial Confirmation Network, an organization created by Jay Sekulow back in 2005 in order to press for the confirmation of President Bush’s judicial nominees, is suddenly leading the charge against President Obama’s Department of Justice nominees.

Considering that the JCN was founded “to 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,” I fail to understand how it has suddenly establish itself as the voice of the Right in opposing David Ogden, Elena Kagan, Dawn Johnsen, and Thomas Perrelli – especially since, until last summer, the organization had been entirely non-existent for more than a year. 

But somehow they have and now, on top of yesterday’s ad in “Roll Call” blasting Sen. Pat Leahy for moving too quickly on these nominations, the JCN’s Wendy Long has an op-ed in The Washington Times making the same points:

The hearing last Thursday on the appointment of David Ogden to be deputy attorney general – the spot just under Attorney General Eric Holder – showed the Obama-Leahy confirmation strategy for legal appointees whose views are far outside the American mainstream.

Don’t expect any more transparency today, when Elena Kagan, the Obama nominee for Solicitor General, takes the stand. She has charmed many in the conservative legal community, particularly in the academic world, by hiring a couple of conservative law professors in her capacity as dean of Harvard Law School.

The list of far-left extremists poised to take over the Justice Department goes on: Dawn Johnsen, nominated to serve as head of the Office of Legal Counsel, worked at NARAL and the ACLU. She opposes even modest regulation of abortion, such as partial-birth abortion bans and parental notification for teenagers. She’s argued that restrictions on abortion violate the Thirteenth Amendment, which banned slavery, because “forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest.” Thomas Perrelli, nominated to be Assistant Attorney General, worked with the Florida ACLU to cut off basic food and water to Terri Schiavo, causing her to die, and later expressed disdain for the American people making laws through elected representatives that undo the work of legal extremists and activist courts.

President Obama promised “change” but has so far only nominated a slew of far-left activists to the Justice Department. If this is the change he believes in, President Obama will lose the support of the sensible moderates who voted for him.

The Right has a variety of these sorts of phony front groups who give themselves principled-sounding names and claim to represent thousands of grassroots activists, only to completely disappear once the issue on which they work is no longer on the front burner.  Anyone remember the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary? That one-woman “organization” hasn’t so much as issued a press release since November 2006.

And the JCN appeared to be this same sort of group, spending millions of dollars to press for the confirmation of President Bush’s judges and do away with the filibuster, only to more or less fall silent following the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito.  But then it suddenly popped-up against last summer and has slowly managed to establish itself as the leading voice of opposition to President Obama’s DOJ nominees, thereby positioning itself as the go-to organization once the battle over judicial nominees heats up again.  

At some point, the Judicial Confirmation Network will change its name and mission statement once it realizes that its Bush-era “principles” are now direct conflict with its current work – but until then, we are stuck with the odd reality that a group created to ensure that the confirmation process was fair and efficient is now committed to obstructing that same process.