FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Justice Ginsburg and the Need to Oppose Radical Judicial Nominees
While most of us have been caught up in the brouhaha of electoral politics, liberal activists have been working indefatigably to pack the courts – the unelected branch of government – with radical statists. We might have turned over a number of congressional seats in 2010, but Obama has successfully turned over many conservative seats in our federal court system. Since taking office, Obama has appointed 125 people to federal judgeships, including 25 to appellate courts, and 2 to the Supreme Court.
After three years, Obama’s mark on the federal courts is beginning to become quite potent. The Fourth Circuit appellate court used to be filled with a majority of strict constructionist judges. Now, following Obama’s appointment of five new radicals, the court has totally shifted. This once conservative court ruled in favor of the administration in upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare last year. Obama’s indelible stain on the judicial system will reverberate for years to come.
While Republicans have successfully blocked some of Obama’s most extreme nominees, they have voted to confirm the vast majority of them. Many Republicans have insisted for years that anyone who is “qualified” to serve as a judge deserves to be confirmed, irrespective of their judicial philosophy or ideology. This school of thought suggests that as long as the nominee has the requisite resume and is clean of ethical violations, he/she should sail through the nomination process. That is the grim consequence of elections, they contend.
Last week, in an interview with an Egyptian television station, Ruth Bader Ginsburg showed why ideology matters and why perverted judicial philosophy should indeed be a disqualifying factor for a judgeship. She told the audience –one that lives under tyranny – that the U.S. Constitution should not serve as a role model for a modern draft:
“I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary… It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution – Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?”
At the time of her nomination to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had a stellar resume and excellent ratings from the American Bar Association. With that criteria in mind, every Republican except for three; Don Nickles, Bob Smith, and Jesse Helms, voted to confirm Ginsburg, a woman who has nothing but contempt for the very document that she is charged with upholding.
Make no mistake about it; someone who believes that our constitution is outdated; someone who regards our constitution as a living and breathing document; someone who views the constitution of a violent third world country with higher reverence than the U.S. Constitution is indeed disqualified from serving on any court.
No matter what happens in November, Obama will have another year to pack the courts. At present, there are 86 vacancies on district and appellate courts, 39 of which already have pending nominees before the Senate. We must work harder to ensure that not a single person with contempt for our Constitution is confirmed by the Senate. Republicans must understand that disrespect for the Constitution is an automatic disqualification for a judicial nominee.
Perhaps, Justice Ginsburg had it right when she asserted at the end of that TV interview, “if the people don’t care, the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference.” If we continue to blithely confirm nominees who share Ginsburg’s judicial philosophy, our Constitution – which is the best in the world – certainly won’t make any difference.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project