Robert Novak reports that the White House, Senate Republicans and their right-wing base are in disarray over the issue of judicial nominations.
As Novak sums it up, “Despite recent nominations and confirmations, it seems too late for a Senate battle to impact the midterm campaign … No debate, no campaign issue.”
Driving home the point of just how important judges – or rather, fights over judges – are to the Right, Sean Rushton of the Committee for Justice took to the pages of the National Review to explicitly tell GOP leaders in the Senate that they has better start picking some fights over judges or face the consequences in November
This November will be the first election year since 2000 that no significant Senate debate over judicial confirmations will spark a voter response. If Senate leaders do not rethink their strategy, fewer voters will be considering judicial confirmations when they vote for Senate candidates on November 3rd. It is a huge mistake. It is an avoidable mistake.
There is nothing like a currently simmering controversy — in the nation’s great debating society, the U.S. Senate – to arouse voters anew. The judicial issue has shown its power not only to turn out conservative voters, but to swing moderates to the GOP, whether through appeal to unpopular rulings on private property rights, marriage, and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or through simple disgust with Democratic obstruction and name calling. Judicial confirmation battles pay dividends.
Notice that Rushton doesn’t say “judicial confirmations pay dividends” – he says “judicial confirmation battles pay dividends.”
It is amazing really – getting controversial nominees confirmed is actually less of a priority for the Right than is merely starting a fight over the nominees.