Politics

Winning the War Requires Winning on Judges

If Osama bin Laden watches the Republicans’ efforts to win the war over judges and equates it with their commitment to win the real war, he’d swap his cave for a condo in Kabul or Karachi and start broadcasting live from his sundeck.

But for our magnificent military, he’d be a regular on CNN.

Now that he thinks he can use his cell phone without fear of being overheard by someone charged with protecting us from annihilation, bin Laden probably rang up a local florist to wire roses to U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, a Jimmy Carter appointee.

Taylor struck down the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program on August 16. Taylor says it violates rights to free speech and privacy. The ACLU filed the lawsuit and forum shopped on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say “the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs.” Hopefully, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will reverse Taylor’s wild excursion into activism land.

Imagine the luck of the draw in getting Taylor. She’s known for trying to steer cases to liberal judges and is the secretary and a trustee for the nonprofit Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, which, according to Judicial Watch, gave $45,000 to the ACLU. Taylor didn’t bother to disclose that little nugget to the parties.

President Bush announced on August 30 that he had sent five appeals court nominations back to the Senate: Terrence Boyle, William Haynes, William Myers, Michael Wallace and Norman Smith. A White House spokesperson said, “The president is pleased to re-nominate these qualified individuals to the bench and believes they should be confirmed as soon as the Senate reconvenes.”

It’s hard to be confident that things will be different this round. You may recall how Republicans dallied while threatened or actual filibusters foiled Miguel Estrada, Judges Charles Pickering, Carolyn Kuhl, Henry Saad and others.

You might hear the noise of rattling sabers on the left if it weren’t for the knocking-knees of the boys on the right. “Oh, no, not the judge-thing again! Tell them we’ll use the ‘nuclear option.’ We really mean it this time.”

I’ve lost count. Anybody with a mega-calculator keeping score?

Since Botox is so popular in the Senate, would to heaven it worked on the spine.

Those who won’t stand up to empty suits can’t expect to be taken seriously by a maniacal Jihadist who would use a real nuclear option if he had it.

Bin Laden has their number. Issue a press release—talk tough. Make a speech—talk tougher. Lose the vote—blame Democrats. Campaign—fake right. Figuring this out doesn’t require a secure cell phone.

The president nominated William James Haynes, general counsel at the Department of Defense, to the Fourth Circuit in 2003. The Senate Judiciary Committee sent his nomination to the Senate within a few weeks. It’s late 2006, and Haynes still hasn’t had an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Democrats don’t control the schedule, at least, not officially.

Democrats have blocked William Myers’ nomination to the Ninth Circuit since 2003, claiming he’s anti-environment and hostile to American Indians. His sin? He was a lawyer at the Interior Department and a lobbyist for mining and cattle interests. Myers values private property ownership and has fought oppressive government regulations, not bad credentials in the age of eminent domain abuse.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) blocked a vote on Norman Smith last February, claiming the nomination would give Idaho undue weight on the western appellate court. Did anybody get the memo about Idaho seceding from the Union?

Would Feinstein favor giving her lightweight brethren from those sparsely populated places like Delaware, Vermont and Rhode Island only half a vote in the Senate? Works for me.

Let’s recall that DiFi and company joined fellow Democrat Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow to block all of the president’s Michigan nominees to the Sixth Circuit, despite a judicial emergency caused by too many vacancies. Levin was chronically miffed and vexed that his wife’s cousin, who’d been nominated by Bill Clinton, wasn’t given a hearing by Republicans.

The Founders nixed nepotism as a qualifier for the bench. Seems like I read that somewhere.

Michael Wallace is a conservative, Harvard-educated lawyer with three decades of experience in top government and corporate law positions. The left’s opposition stems from two members of the American Bar Association’s leadership who hold political grudges against him going back many years. The ABA has rated Wallace “not qualified.”

Then there’s the record held for the longest delayed nomination. President Bush nominated Judge Terrence Boyle to the Fourth Circuit more than five years ago but his nomination has been held on the Senate floor for more than one year without an up-or-down vote. Claims that Judge Boyle committed an ethical violation by failing to recuse himself from a case in which he had a “financial interest” is a bogus charge that would end with Senate debate and vote on his nomination.

Democrats are claiming the Senate has already rejected the five nominees so the president shouldn’t have renominated them. That’s how inept and impotent they think the opposition is.

The Senate can’t reject a nomination unless it votes it down. Misusing a filibuster to prevent a vote, and then calling it a rejection, is deceitful and insulting. Letting them get away with it and then whining about it is pathetic.

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) has called the five nominees “extremely divisive.” There’s just no underestimating Harry’s analytical brilliance. But then, spouting the code words for filibuster doesn’t require genius, just persistence.

Senate leadership can’t expect Americans to take them seriously when they talk tough about winning a war but don’t stand up to political bullies. A major factor in winning that war requires confirming judges that won’t wrap the Constitution around foreign enemies who intend to bury it with us.

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