Carol Platt Liebau: Politicizing the Court

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Politicizing the Court

With today's party line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee passing Judge Alito's nomination to the full Senate, the Democrats proved that they don't understand the role of the judiciary any better than they understand, say, national security.

Here's a paragraph that exemplifies what's wrong with the Democratic approach to judicial confirmation:

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said that if a person favors a woman's right to choose abortion, "one cannot vote for Judge Alito. It's really that simple."

Of course, Senator Feinstein sounds like she's making a decision about whether to endorse a politicla candidate, whose political views determine how many votes he will receive. And that's where the Democrats' results-oriented view of the judiciary and judging itself becomes repulsively apparent. They support the judges who will give them the results they want, and reflexively oppose the rest.

How "simple" was it, after all, when a bunch of pro-life senators voted for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite her widely-proclaimed pro-abortion views?

They did so because Republicans understand that judging isn't supposed to be about supporting those who will vote for outcomes in accordance with a particular legislator's political agenda. It's about finding superbly qualified nominees of good character and temperament, who dwell somewhere in the wide swathe of the continuum between mainstream conservative and mainstream liberal jurisprudence, and otherwise letting the President have his choice.


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