Today’s Washington Post features a story by R. Jeffrey Smith about how “GOP-appointed majorities [are] winning ideological battles at [the] appellate [court] level.” The focus is on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which apparently has replaced the Fourth Circuit as the bete noir of those who resent it when Republican presidents decline to populate courts with judges who take the liberal side in criminal and other ideologically tinged cases.
The Post’s Smith, it seems, was sufficiently resenful to write quite a distorted story, as Ed Whelan shows in detail. The ultimate howler comes when Smith quotes Nan Aron, long time organizer of Democratic filibusters against Republican nominees, who says that congressional “Democrats don’t care about this issue” as much as Republicans do. Smith perpetuates Aron’s absurd claim by suggesting that two Bush Sixth Circuit nominees were non-controversial for Senate Democrats, even though they both were filibustered (a fact Smit omits).
The piece appears to have been fed to the Post by one or more liberal judges on the the Sixth Circuit, or their sympathizers. These judges apparently resent occasionally having their decisions overturned by the en banc (full) Court. According to the Post this has happened 17 times (in 28 en banc rehearings) in five years, a number that doesn’t hardly shocks the conscience.
If you’re a liberal with an axe to grind against non-liberal federal judges, you’ve got a shoulder to cry on at the Washington Post.
UPDATE: Jonathan Adler, quoted by the Post at the very end of the article, has more, including a reminder of warfare waged by liberals in connection with the Sixth Circuit. Unlike the complaints against Bush appointees — which amount to nothing more than voting in a non-liberal manner — the incidents Adler recalls involve allegations of misconduct.
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