The Washington Post urges President Bush to seek an accord with Senate Democrats regarding judicial nominations. Specifically, it urges Bush to (1) continue to push for procedural reforms that will speed up the process by which nominees receive consideration and (2) refrain from simply pushing as many conservatives as possible through the Senate. Bush should, indeed, enact procedural reforms. However, he should also make up for lost time and seek the confirmation of judges who share his conservative judicial philosophy. He should do this because it is his duty to nominate judges who share his view of the Constitution and because such judges are especially needed after nearly eight years of non-stop liberal appointments (the Republicans didn’t start saying “no” until near the end of the Clinton presidency). The Post suggests that unless Bush reaches out to the Democrats now, they will thwart his nominees if they recapture the Senate two or four years from now. But it offers no reason to believe that the Democrats won’t do this in any event. In fact, although the Post does not acknowledge it, Bush actually nominated some non-conservatives after he was elected in order to present a somewhat balanced slate of nominees to the Senate. The Democrats responded by confirming the moderates and mostly blocking the conservatives. The Post concludes by urging both sides to think about “what kind of nominees everyone could regard as above political dispute.” As I have argued before, the answer among those who are sufficiently engaged to merit consideration for the bench is, essentially, the non-existent kind.
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