Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Red State Democratic Senators Feeling the Heat Concerning Judicial Confirmations

The Lincoln (NE) Journal-Star ran an article today in which Senator Nelson responded to Dr. James Dobson’s suggestion that Nelson could be targeted for defeat in 2006 if he opposes President Bush’s judicial nominees. Nelson’s response was that he did not support obstructing judicial nominees, and that he joined only one filibuster: that of Henry Saad for the Sixth Circuit. He claims that he opposed Saad "because he was not allowed to read Saad’s background files and because both Michigan senators strongly opposed the nomination." Perhaps he should be asked to explain why he is following the lead of the Michigan senators, who are opposing Saad and three other nominees from Michigan not because of the qualifications of those judges, but because of a kind of nepotism. Indeed, Senator Levin has vowed to block all judges nominated from Michigan who do not have one key qualification: they must be his wife’s cousin.

Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see Nelson denouncing obstructionism--a move that I think other electorally vulnerable red state Democratic Senators are likely to mimic in the coming months.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Right on, Rob, except that it is not "a kind of nepotism" that is blocking the Sixth Circuit’s nominees. It is blatant, old-school political corruption. I will never understand how Michigan Senator Carl Levin has been allowed to block nominees for four years while demanding that the White House nominate his relative, with nary a peep from the media or even from the Senators themselves. This is a disgrace, Levin is a crook, and the state of Michigan should be embarrassed by his continued presence in the Senate.

What?! Carl Levin is blocking nominees for less-than-honorable reasons? I don’t believe it.

Just kidding. Yes I do.

James Dobson? *sigh* Does he still think he knows anything about politics? Oh my . . . . any man who claims that Christianity and Politics cannot be seperated and then advocates war and deficit loses a lot of credibility in my eyes . . .

But that’s a different issue. Obstructionism is ridiculous. It makes the assumption that a judicial appointment is politically motivated (and we all know this never happens). Seriously, the bigger issue (in my opinion) is that somehow judicial appointments have really become a partisan pissing contest. It is very disappointing. However, such appointments are (unfortunately) realistic. All the Democrats are doing now is making themselves look more and more like the "opposing party" instead of a party with its own ideals and policies. My party is slowly becoming the Anti-Bush party. It’s painful to watch and if it doesn’t stop the Democrats won’t have ANY power soon . . . :(

Mr. Mingus: With millions of listeners who look to him for advice concerning grassroots advocacy, Dr. Dobson wields considerable political clout--a point which must be recognized by those who think that they know something about politics. As for your party, with the help of Senator Levin and his all-in-the-family kickbacks, they look more corrupt than simply anti-Bush.

Matt, Rob Alt is certainly right about the last point. The open secret on the Sixth Circuit appointees is that Senator Levin is blocking them specifically because he wants President Bush to nominate his wife’s cousin, Helen White, to the court. Levin’s allies on the judiciary committee have simply refused (for four years!) to even hold hearings on these candidates until the President acquiesces, often hiding behind the same vague language used by Senator Nelson rather than telling their voters the unethical truth. In the meantime, the Sixth Circuit’s docket is so backed up that some habeas petitioners have literally served their entire sentences before the court could hear their cases, and some plaintiffs actually die waiting to be put on the docket. All I can say is, if you are going to be wrongly arrested, make sure you don’t do it in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, or Kentucky. You will serve 8 years before the Circuit ever gets to your appeal.

Mr. Alt: Sorry, I allowed the angry liberal (not so) deep inside me speak. :-D I was just commenting on his political beliefs and (lack of) credibility (in my eyes). I absolutely agree: he has a great deal of influence which (unfortunately) makes him political. You’re absolutely right (no pun intended).

Mr. Ohio Voter (nice name): You’re correct as well. *disappointed sigh* I’m sure that some people will allow this to reflect on the entire party (which is always a shame), but maybe it’ll wake them up. Although I doubt it. They haven’t figured out how to be a very functional party recently at all. I’ll make sure to get arrested in Ohio if I ever feel like breaking the law . . . :-D

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