Rob Wasinger served as Senator Sam Brownback’s chief of staff. Now he is a candidate for Congress in Kansas’ First District. Rob was an early leader in the fight against the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.
Given this background, we thought that Power Line readers would be interested in Rob’s take on how Republicans should approach the Sotomayor nomination. Thus, we are pleased to publish the following guest post:
President Obama must be confident that he has the votes in Congress to get Sotomayor confirmed. If the Democrats didn’t have such a commanding majority in the Senate, it’s hard to imagine that Obama would pick someone who is so brazenly at odds with mainstream legal thought that the Court has yet to affirm her reasoning on any of her decisions that have been appealed.
When the Justices unanimously reject your reasoning, saying that your approach “flies in the face of the statutory language,” after rejecting one of your previous decisions 8-0, you might not have the chops to run with them.
It remains to be seen who among the Democrats has the judgment and courage to stand against a President of their own party and reject his nominee.
It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans in Congress recognized that Harriet Miers was wrong for the Supreme Court, took a stand on principle and forced her withdrawal as his nominee. It wasn’t easy for those who broke from the party line, but in the end they did the right thing.
I would know. I led the fight behind the scenes against her nomination.
Fortunately, in late 2005 there were still enough Republicans who were convinced to put principle first that we could apply the pressure to defeat the nomination.
But elections have consequences, so Democrats have control until 2011 at least. For everyone who believes that judges should interpret laws rather than write them, this is clearly not where we want to be, but until we come back strong in Congress, we have to make the best of it.
The proper response is not to fold on this and go along quietly with the confirmation. If we always acquiesced to what feels inevitable, we wouldn’t have guessed that we could successfully derail one of President Bush’s judicial nominations, and instead get Justice Alito.
It is moments like this that allow us to draw a sharp distinction between our beliefs and those of the Democrats, and show that we were not complicit when our opponents showed a disrespect for the law. Through our actions, we should give courage to any Democrat who is having doubts about signing off on Sotomayor.
If you believe in upholding the Constitution, stand up against an unqualified nominee now just as we did in 2005. The results might surprise you.