Sunday, September 29, 2002
Judging Judges: A hint to all newspaper editorial pages: If Eric Alterman thinks that you're doing a great job, then you've gone way too far to the left.
This should be a wake-up call for the New York Times, but is likely to fall on deaf ears. In a Sunday editorial, the Times came out against Bush appeals court nominee Michael McConnell.
While conceding McConnell is qualified, the Times has decided that he cannot be trusted to wield this limited power, always subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
No judicial nominee could be confirmed today if he or she attacked Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 ruling striking down racial segregation in schools.
The Senate must also be highly skeptical of nominees who do not acknowledge a woman's right to abortion. Mr. McConnell has not merely expressed abstract reservations about the Roe v. Wade ruling, but has also actively crusaded against it. He signed a statement arguing that fetuses deserved constitutional protection. Mr. McConnell has promised to follow established precedents in the area, and that is worth something. But that will not help in the many cases appellate courts decide in which there is no binding authority and a judge must seek his own counsel.
The Times lists a litany of cases, insisting that the appeals court nominee must agree with the Times' (extreme left) editorial opinion to be qualified to serve on the appellate courts. The Times' litmus test would disqualify at least three members of the current Supreme Court from serving on the federal appeals court. Instead of selecting judges for temperament and tolerance, the Times and Senate Judiciary Democrats want a bunch of "Yes" men/women.
It's not good for the judiciary, and, as I've said before, making this an issue, as Democrats have, will eventually come back to bite them in the ass.