Skip to comments.Bush Got It Right on Pickering, the Post Got It Wrong
Posted on 01/20/2004 10:20:10 AM PST by hinterlander
On Saturday, the Washington Post ran an editorial titled "End Run for Mr. Pickering," lamenting President Bush's decision to recess-appoint Judge Charles W. Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. His actions were a direct response to the Democrats' continued filibuster of Pickering's nomination.
Instead of simply acknowledging that President Bush was fully within his right to make the appointment and that, even though they disagreed with Pickering's nomination, the President is right to circumvent a filibustering, stonewalling minority of Senators who won't allow a vote on the nomination to fill the vacancy classified as a "judicial emergency" by the National Judicial Conference, the Post was disappointed in the politics of it all -- as if the White House were to blame.
The Post's editorial follows, in pieces (and emphasis added), with reality-based rejoinders.
Post: President Bush's decision Friday to install controversial judicial nominee Charles W. Pickering Sr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit using a recess appointment is yet another unwarranted escalation of the judicial nomination wars.
Reality: "Another unwarranted escalation of the judicial nomination wars"? The fact is that it is the liberal minority in the Senate which has held up the Pickering nomination and forced the President's hand.
Reality: How does this "constitutional end run" compare to an unconstitutional action by Senate Democrats?
Reality: Tell that to the Left. They and their pro-abortion, anti-conservative supporters make it nigh impossible to avoid partisanship in the nomination of circuit court judges.
Reality: Again, this is not a principle to which liberal Senate Democrats actually subscribe. It is the Left that has repeatedly forced the nomination process to become so harshly political.
Reality: Once more, who is forcing the political issue? President Bush merely nominated him, it was the Democrats and their minions who have made it an embarrassing political sideshow.
Reality: A little history on the Gregory nomination -- Roger Gregory, who is black, is from Virginia and was nominated to a seat on the Fourth Circuit long regarded as belonging to North Carolina. Clinton nominated Mr. Gregory knowing the territorial feud that would erupt and that the GOP would get most, if not all, of the negative press over the delay of his nomination to be the first black judge confirmed by the Senate to the Fourth Circuit.
This was typical of Clinton's injection of politics into the judicial nomination and confirmation process, not to mention the fact that Clinton recess appointed him on December 27, 2000, a mere three-and-a-half weeks before Bush was inaugurated and days before Congress reconvened, meaning that Mr. Gregory's time on the bench, unless re-nominated, would expire after one year.
The Post, on December 28, 2000, even noted the politics of Gregory's nomination:
White House aides were also eager to put the Senate's record on black judges in play in the midst of controversy over President-elect Bush's attorney general nominee, Sen. John D. Ashcroft (R-Mo.), who has been roundly condemned by civil rights groups for torpedoing the nomination of another African American judicial candidate, Missouri Supreme Court Justice Ronnie White.
Clinton has appointed 62 African American judges to the federal bench, but he complained yesterday that Republicans have opposed too many other black nominees, especially in the 4th Circuit. "Time and again, for five years now, I have tried and tried to fill these gaps in justice and equality," Clinton said, "and time and again, for five years now, the Senate majority has stood in the way."
Mr. Clinton intends to renominate Mr. Gregory when Congress reconvenes. The Senate will thus have a further opportunity, if it wishes, to act on the nomination in the normal way. Even so, the action is as likely to rile as to shame the members at whom it is mainly, and rightly, aimed. The effect could thus be to exacerbate rather than ease the politicization of the nomination process. But wise senators will take this not as an affront, but as a warning that the system has gone dangerously awry. They themselves risk being scarred if they stay on this ruinous course.
Reality: Memo to the Washington Post editorial board: Pickering cannot get the "vote of confidence" because the Democrats refuse to allow a vote on his nomination.
Reality: How else should a president deal with such an unconstitutional move by the liberal Senate minority? Should he just allow them to have their way, blocking the nominations he has every right to make and, thereby, blocking the doors of justice for the people of the Fifth Circuit?
Reality: This is exactly the argument the Republicans have been making to battle the actions of the obstructionist Democrats.
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