As Curt Levey reports at Confirm Them, Sen. Arlen Specter is ratcheting up the pressure against Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy about Leahy’s unconscionable obstructionism on federal judges. Leahy’s response is full of meaningless statistics, devoid of context. For instance, he compares his record this term with Specter’s record of getting confirmations in the previous two years, WITHOUT NOTING that the pace under Specter was so slow specifically because of Democratic stalling tactics. (Of course, those tactics were actually aided by John McCain’s dastardly Gang of 14, but that’s another story.) The fact of the matter will remain that when all is said and done, specifically because of Demo obstruction, the Senate will end 2008 having approved fewer total judicial nominees, and especially fewer appeals court nominees, in eight years under President George W. Bush than it did in eight years under Bill Clinton, even though Clinton faced a GOP Senate majority for six of the eight years whereas Bush will have faced a Demo majority for only 3 1/2 years out of 8. The utterly unprecedented Democratic use of the filibuster, combined with the vicious public airing of completely unsubstantiated attacks on Bush nominees’ character, is responsible for this record. In short, the GOP was far more fair to Clinton nominees than Leahy and Company have been to Bush’s.
Here’s another little note: Many of the Clinton nominees who were “pocket filibustered” in Leahy’s unfair and unfortunately phraseology were done so with Clinton’s tacit consent. Therein lies another tale for another time.
Anyway, although even I, who have made judicial battles my single biggest cri de coeur for many years, have in the past year or so gotten so discouraged with this whole situation that I lost a fighting spirit, the time is now for conservatives again to take up arms on this subject. It is a winner morally and ethically, a winner for the Constitution, and a winner at the ballot box.