For the first time ever, GOP Judiciary Committee veteran will vote against a Supreme Court nominee
South Carolina's Lindsey Graham is now the leader of a, thankfully smaller, Republican group of Senators equating the consequences of presidential elections with repeal of advise and consent clause and fealty to Oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
When Justice David Souter announced his retirement in May, this column made clear our loathing of past GOP Supreme court nomination strategies led by the former Chairman or Ranking Member (depending on which party held the majority in the U.S. Senate) Orrin Hatch (R-UT), pictured, and our hope that the clear failure of those past strategies coupled with the decision of the GOP caucus to elevate Alabama's Jeff Sessions to Ranking Member on the committee would un-Hatch Hatch.
For the first time in his 33-year Senate career, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch will vote against a Supreme Court nominee.
Hatch decided Friday to oppose Sonia Sotomayor when her nomination comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Sotomayor, who would become the high court's first Hispanic justice, is widely expected to easily win confirmation in the next few weeks.
"I reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, have found that I cannot support her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court," Hatch said in a statement. "Although Judge Sotomayor has a compelling life story and dedication to public service, her statements and record were too much at odds with the principles about the judiciary in which I deeply believe."
Of course, the statements and records, respectively of Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were ever bit as much at odds with the principle of fealty to the Constitution; judicial restraint and every other principle about the judiciary that the senior Senator deeply believes in, as are those of Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
But Hatch famously later bragged on the 80-90% GOP votes for those liberal activists on the grounds that "elections have consequences" and that President Clinton's nominees were "well qualified" based on the "gold standard" of ABA recommendations. No matter that the ABA's gold was given to anyone that could walk and chew gum at the same time; hadn't been disbarred and were never discovered in various states of undress with live boys or dead girls (or vice versa).
The mantle of Hatch's past diminution of the consequences of the elections of senators; their Oath to uphold the Constitution and their equally as significant Advise and Consent role in the seating of federal judges and Supreme Court justices has been taken up now by the senior Senator of the Palmetto State, despite his withering cross-examination of President Barack Obama's nominee to the point of uncomfortable embarrassment with her disembling:
The Palmetto State's senior senator excoriated Sonia for her blatantly bigoted brunch staple that her sex and ethnicity made her more likely to render better decisions that white men, reminding her that had he made a similar statement he would be bum-rushed from elected office.
Graham recounted the approbation of a fellow 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals jurist for her summary dismissal of the claims of Frank Ricci and other non-black firefighters that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed.
Finally, the Republican lawyer painstakingly and repeatedly questioned the former board member/fund raiser concerning her Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund's civil court advocacy that the 13th Amendment's prohibition of slavery requires taxpayers to pay for the abortions of poor women.
Yet, despite all that, Senator Graham (R-SC) announced he would vote for her. To date, only four other Republicans have announced for Sotomayor, and reports indicate at least 75% of the Republican caucus will vote against her, despite her sterling personal story.
This is quite a turn around from the failed Hatch strategy that eased two liberal activists on to the court; failed to adequately defend Robert Bork from character assassination; and failed to draw clear lines of distinction for voters on the dramatic differences between the parties on the rule of law.
Polls indicate that the public already were repulsed by Sotomayor's racist statements even before the hearings and with the anticipated strong GOP vote against her, it is just possible that for the first time in two centuries, the courts could well be an issue in an election campaign in 2010.
Thanks to the new Sessions strategy (that Cockstradamus also DeVined) Sotomayor and Obama's brand of race-based injustice will be hung around the ObamaDems' necks.
[This column is the latest in a series, all parts of which may be accessed here.]
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
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