Monday, April 25, 2005

Filibusters of Judicial Confirmations: What Are The Stakes?

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How do you feel about this prediction from Laura Ingraham, who is very unhappy about GOP squishiness on the judicial confirmation controversy?


The frustration felt by many GOP voters has created a unique,
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for conservative politicians. For the first time
in decades, we have no clear front-runner for the next GOP nomination. For the
first time since George W. started his presidential campaign in the late 1990s,
there is no clear standard-bearer for conservatives to rally round.

If a senator or governor can seize this moment, and create the
type of bond with conservatives that Bush created during his nomination battle
with McCain, that person could be on his way to the White House. If no one steps
forward, and conservative voters increasingly watch their party kowtow to the
McCains, Hagels, and Chafees of the mushy middle, then those voters will
disengage from this party, meaning that the mainstream press will enjoy covering
the elections of 2006 and 2008 a lot more than they enjoyed the election
2004.

I am generally not one to accept predictions of political doom over a single issue, but this time I think Laura has a point. Why? Because there are so many center-right Republicans who parted with money and donated time to support getting rid of Tom Daschle and other Senate Democrats, and who did so for the express purpose of clearing the way for Bush-appointed judges to be confirmed. Now, with a 55-45 majority, the Republicans are waffling and are still being beaten in the public perception war by the Chuck Schumers and Teddy Kennedys of the Senate. This is at best disappointing and at worst infuriating. (I feel both emotions at any given time these days.)

The issue of judicial confirmations is important both viscerally and intellectually.

Viscerally, because we hate seeing the will of the people frustrated twice: first, by judges who consider themselves legislators, and later, by politician who want to prevent judges with a more conservative and less activist philosophy from being confirmed.

Intellectually, because we know the harm that can be done to our legal system and our society if the liberal activist judges continue to get their way.

An example: The Boy Scouts of America (an organization dear to my heart) continues to exist because of a one-vote majority in the U.S. Supreme Court. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale involved an adult whose position as assistant scoutmaster of a New Jersey troop was revoked when the Boy Scouts learned that he is an avowed homosexual and gay rights activist. Four justices of the Supreme Court were willing to hold that there was no Consitutional barrier, under New Jersey’s public accommodations law, to requiring the Boy Scouts to allow Mr. Dale to remain an adult Scout leader. The other five justices, of course, held that to do so would violate the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment right of expressive association.

Regardless of how one feels about the appropriateness of that Supreme Court decision in Dale, it is remarkable to say the least that a cherished American cultural institution like the Scouts could hang by such a thread because of judicial action. Like many Americans, I am very uncomfortable with that state of affairs and so I worked hard to pave the way for President Bush to appoint judges who would not monkey around with such institutions. That's one reason why many others like me and I are so dismayed at the Senate Republicans' apparent softness on this issue.

At this point the best thing we can do is "raise Cain" with our Senators. Here's the contact information for all of them. Also, read confirmthem to stay on top of what is happening.

Today's SoCal Bloggers' Alliance Links on This Subject:

Sheep's Crib has the roundup, in case I've missed anyone.

Holy Coast

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UPDATE: Beyond the News has set up very convenient way to e-mail the five wobbly GOP senators on this issue. You can polish off a separate message to all five at once. Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for the lead.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Boy Scouts of America (an organization dear to my heart) continues to exist because of a one-vote majority in the U.S. Supreme Court."

"Four justices of the Supreme Court were willing to hold that there was no Consitutional barrier, under New Jersey’s public accommodations law, to requiring the Boy Scouts to allow Mr. Dale to remain an adult Scout leader."

I'm confused. One issue is the continued existence of the Boy Scouts. The other is the requirement that the Boy Scouts admit adult homosexuals as troop leaders. I don't see the two states of affairs as mutually exclusive.

I don't think Foley lawyers are famous for confusing issues, nor do I suspect they lightly engage in exaggeration, so maybe I'm missing a step in the argument. What is it? 

Posted by A

Monday, April 25, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A, it is generally believed among close observers that the BSA as we know it would have ceased to exist had Dale been decided the other way. Too many chartered organizations (mostly churches) would have simply pulled out and done something else with their boys and young men. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Monday, April 25, 2005 11:50:00 AM  

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