Friday, March 15, 2002
I was watching a replay of the confirmation vote of Charles Pickering. A couple of things that struck me about the comments made by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
First, Schumer referred to the fact that Bush narrowly won the last election -- suggesting that because he didn't have a mandate from the voters, that his judicial nominees could not reflect his values. (Sen. Dianne Feinstein made a similar assertion on NBC's "Meet the Press" about two weeks ago.) So, what happens in 2004 if Bush does win a "mandate?" Is it OK then? I don't think you'll hear that excuse in 2004.
Second, Schumer made the comment that all the conservatives on the courts now were infringing on the legislative branch's right to make laws to "protect the environment and protect womens' rights." That's a lie. What typically happens in both of these types of cases is one of two things: One, the court finds that some federal agency has erred in creating rules from a piece of legislation; two, it finds that the legislative branch wrote a law poorly.
In both cases, there is a solution: Congress can pass a law that addresses the problem identified by the courts. Of course, it's often easier to have a bureaucrat write a regulation than get it approved by a majority of both houses of Congress.