Republicans Block Third Nominee to DC Court - a Call to Democrats to Stop Sitting Back on This Business With Judges
It seems that the Republicans are bound and determined not to allow the president to fill the empty seats on the D.C. Court of Appeals. It also seems that the Democratic leadership in the Senate is bound and determined to be very publicly vexed about the whole business. If this seems to you to be something of a mismatch as regards to who really holds power in that august body, you are not alone.
This time, it’s Robert Wilkins, an enormously qualified federal judge who happens to be African American. The previous three nominees whom the Republicans denied confirmation were women. Have I mentioned recently that I despair of The Rebranding?
It’s time, Harry. Really, it is. I was on the other side of this issue for a very long time because I didn’t want to confront the possibility of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with the unlimited power to do anything that President Scott Walker wanted. That kind of thing still gives me pause. But this business with the judges has long passed over the International Fk You Line. One of the reasons we elect presidents is because we approve en masse of that president’s philosophy toward the law. This means we elect him so that he can appoint federal judges who will be sympathetic to that philosophy to the federal bench. For going on 40 years, we have seen a long march of conservatism in the federal judiciary, especially at the appellate level, where nobody’s really paying attention until, say, Janice Rogers Brown or someone hands down a decision making thumbscrews legal if the police are acting in good faith. It is not a great stretch to argue that this president was elected (twice) at least partly to reverse the results of that long march. That he is not being allowed to fulfill that part of his mandate does not merely obviate the power of the popularly elected majority in the Senate, it obviates the stated wishes of the entire nation by obviating the power of the popularly elected president of the United States. This is mucking around with two of the three branches of the federal government in order to work your will in the third. Moreover, it hamstrings future presidents who might share that judicial philosophy by blocking the career paths of like-minded judges. And does anybody seriously believe that the Republicans will not do exactly the same thing if a seat on The Big Court comes open? Please.