Sunday, May 22, 2005
The Democrats' last bastion: One of the less persuasive, but most accurate Democrat complaints on the issue of judges has been that Repubicans have the House, Senate and presidency -- now they want the "independent judiciary too."
On its face, this argument seems to somehow suggest that anytime the president and Senate do their constitutional duties in staffing the courts that it is somehow an assault on the independence of the judiciary.
But let's do a little history lesson. Since 1972 -- 33 years -- Democrats have controlled the presidency for 12 years, Republicans 21 years. Simple statistics would lead us to believe that Republican nominees would already hold a majority of the appeals courts positions. Monday's Wall Street Journal has the following graphic [subscription required] which may be enlightening for some.
The Sixth Circuit is even. In the Eleventh and D.C. Circuits, Republican nominees hold a one vote majority. In the Ninth Circuit, the Democrats hold a 2-1 majority. This is not exactly what one would expect from the history, but it does perhaps explain Democrats' fear over the possibility that George W. Bush would get to appoint more judges to the courts.
The Circuit Courts do not -- and will not -- reflect the fact that Republicans will have held the presidency for 24 of the past 36 years. Democrats are going to have to get used to it.