As Senate Democrats continue to make a mockery of the judicial confirmation process, the arguments of their allies in liberal advocacy groups and on editorial boards become increasingly frivolous. In this piece for National Review Online, Robert Alt takes on the latest such argument — that certain Bush nominees are federalists, and that federalism is just a code word for a rigid states rights philosophy, which in turn is a pretext for a virulently reactionary form of conservatism. Alt patiently demonstrates that federalism does not necessarily produce conservative outcomes; rather it is an outcome-neutral set of constitutional rules. His analysis is worth reading, but ultimately beside the point when it comes to the plight of the Bush nominees. The Senate Democrats and their boosters don’t care what federalism is or is not. They are prepared to argue anything, and more importantly do anything, to block confirmation. Their effort to prevent the Senate from fulfilling its role in the confirmation process is as disgraceful as it is unprecedented. The Republicans need to settle on, and implement, one of the available strategies for countering the Democrats’ behavior, and they need to do this sooner rather than later.
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