Waiving the Flag for Judges - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Waiving the Flag for Judges

Yes, that is supposed to be “waiving,” not “waving.”

Just a little earlier today, a coalition of conservative groups organized by Manny Miranda of the Third Branch Conference held an important press conference to announce an overwhelming agreeement that, if the choice is between passing an amendment banning flag burning, as the Senate is scheduled to consider this week, or spending the time necessary to confirm more judicial nominees, the groups strongly prefer the confirmation of judges. (In other words, they would waive the flag issue in favor of the judges.) Not that they don’t approve of the flag amendment but, in the words of the American Conservative Union’s David Keene, the flag issue is “more symbolic than substantive,” whereas the confirmation battles are of highest substantive AND political importance. The flag issue, Keene said, Is “not very salient” right now.

Of course, a bunch of GOP senators obviously consider both issues to be the equivalent of “boob bait for the Bubbas,” in other words just throwaway crumbs every once in a while to keep the natives on the right from getting too restless. IN other words, the senators consider themselves to be sort of slumming with us either way, rather than understanding that judicial confirmations are crucially important not just for right-wing hot-button issues but for the protection of the Constitution itself more broadly — AND important as well for political reasons, because voters motivated by the issue can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Such is not necessarily the case with an 18-year-old issue like flag burning. (Of course, in the best of all worlds, the Senate would consider both issues, because it wouldn’t waste so much time either on other issues or, even worse, out of session. But that’s a topic for another day.)

Random notes and quotes from the press conference:

From Keene: “The purpose of our gathering here today is to let members of the Senate know that we do not have a 29-miute attention span.” “On the right, people are CONTINUALLY concerned” about judges. “We hope that people in the Senate don’t just say, ‘oh, we’ve done some of that’ (i.e. confirmed a single judge or two judges) and move on.” Also, making judicial confirmations an issue in Senate campaigns “will work to the benefit of Republican candidates.”

From Jan LaRue of Concerned Women of America: Senators must understand that is is “their constitutional DUTY…[to perform their jobs] of advice and consent.” “Our constituents will not be put off by being told ‘we have more pressing business.” LaRue also took direct shots at South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and, to a lesser extent, at Sen. John McCain, for obstructing 4th Circuit nominee Jim Haynes, a counsel at the Department of Defense.

William Greene of RightMarch.com said judicial confirmations are one of the two or three biggest issues for conservative activists nationwide, and he echoed LaRue (in effect) when he also said that the senators “better answer to their constituents” and that “they have a duty” to give final floor votes to the nominees.

Lars Liebler, a former law clerk for long-embattled circuit court nominee Terrence Boyle (now a federal district judge), noted that of the 16,000 opinions Boyle has joined, a whopping 99% hvae been either NOT appealed or, if appealed, not overturned — and that of the ones that have been appealed, 93% have been affirmed by higher courts — which is higher than the national average.

Jeff Lord, author of “The Borking Rebellion” and sometime contributor to the American Spectator web site, called on the Senate to pass reforms long pushed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter that would establish more formal rules and a formal timetable for considering all nominees.

Also speaking were the wonderful Jim Martin of “60-Plus,” Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council, and Pat Woodward of the Republican National Lawyers Association, while Sean Rushton of the Committee for Justice also took questions (as did Miranda, who answered them at length, but I wasn’t taking notes as extensively during Q&A).

All I have to add is that these speakers were all correct. COnfirming good judicial nominees with dispatch preserves the Constitution, it’s good politics…and it’s only fair to the nominees themselves to let them know, up or down/yes or no, whether they will become judges, rather than forcing them to put their lives on hold, often at great personal and financial cost, while waiting for senators to preen and play nasty political games.

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