Thursday, July 21, 2005

Kinda Like Mystery Meat

The President and his administration have spent the last few weeks, since Sandra Day O'Connor announced her desire to retire from the Supreme Court, trying to play "Pin the Responsibility on the Donkey."

The line is that the President is entitled install a new judge into the highest court of the land - for life - without anyone asking questions.
MR. McCLELLAN [White House Press Secreatary, July 12, 2005]: Well, I think there are some that maybe have suggested that they should have veto power over the President's selection. The President has a constitutional responsibility to nominate someone to the bench and I don't think any individual should have veto power over the President's constitutional responsibility.

As a matter of fact, they say it would be rude to ask questions. Unfair. Uncivil.

And I think the American people expect that as we move forward on the confirmation process that it be done so in a dignified and civil way that rises above any partisanship. The President has also said that the nominee should be treated fairly and have a fair hearing and a fair vote. I think that you all have seen the precedent in recent times that was set when it came to Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, and that is the precedent that the President believes should be followed as we move forward, once he has named someone to fill this vacancy.

[Note: Breyer and Ginburg were non-controversial picks, with well-known records, and well regarded by those on both sides.]

So, um, then why did he pick the Mystery Candidate? It's kinda like serving up a heaping bowl of "mystery meat," and telling us to gobble it up, without first asking what we're getting. Well, why doesn't he want us to ask?

John Roberts is a relative unknown, with a few exceptions. He has only been on the bench for a few years, because the first time he was nominated to his current seat, his nomination was overturned.

What's in this dish that might scare us off? What is the administration hiding?

What we do know:
  1. He has written an opinion implying that there is no right to privacy.
  2. He has written that holding suspects, indefinitely, without charges, is OK.
  3. He has stated that he thinks Roe v. Wade, the ruling that defined a compromise between those who do not believe that women should have rights to make their own medical decisions and those who believe that there is no time at which a fetus might have rights, should be overturned.

Is there more? Why are they so afraid of questions that they would paint the Senate as doing something uncivil if they dare to live up to their constitutional responsibility to advise the president on the suitability of the candidate he has proposed, consenting only if he has nominated an appropriate judge?

If he is unwilling to accept by the Senate's advice on the candidates, then he can expect that they might choose the other half of meaning of "consent" - the part where it is witheld, because the candidate is not suited to protect the interests of the citizens of the United States of America.


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