Five years ago today, President G. W. Bush unveiled his first batch of 11 appellate court nominees, which originally was hailed for its (collective) tremendous qualifications, its diversity, and its seeming avoidance of ideological hard edges. He even included two holdover nominees from Bill CLinton, including the semi-controversial Roger Gregory, as a gesture of goodwill to the Dems. Later that month, six more appellate nominees were added to the mix. Around the same time as those six others, though, Sen. Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP, giving control of the Senate to the Dems — and suddenly, what had seemed like a wonderful start on judges turned into partisan warfare led by liberal Dems intent on smearing any nominee they could. Of those first 11, Miguel Estrada was eventually harrassed into withdrawing, a number of them were harrassed for years before confirmation, and Priscilla Owen was positively abused by the Dems until finally confirmed as one of the few good results of the “Gang of 14” deal last year.
One of them, Terry Boyle, had actually been nominated way back in 1991 by the first President Bush — and he is STILL waiting for confirmation today. Apparently, he has been subjected to a lot of unfair attacks throughout. I haven’t investigated all of the particulars, but you can see the answers to the charges against Boyle here.
Another of the nominees chosen that first month, Charles Pickering, was slandered unmercifully and vilely. He ended up getting a recess appointment for one year, but retired after that year was up rather than submitting to even more calumny.
And as I’ve reported in detail, the overall “kill” rate for the Dems against good appellate nominees has been alarmingly high.
Well, today, after exactly five years, enough is enough. The excellent Brett Kavanaugh gets a hearing today, and should be confirmed and seated by month’s end. But that should be not the end of the fight, but the beginning of the effort to right five years of wrongs. After five years, it’s time to stop the foolishness and the smears, invoke the “constitutional option” to kill filibusters against judicial nominees if need be, get a fair up-or-down vote on Boyle, and confirm EVERY nominee who can attract 51 votes in the Senate — and stop making the nominees twist in the wind.
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