A principled liberal looks at the president’s stalled judicial nominees

A few days ago, I referred to statements by Jonathan Turley, a self-dscribed social liberal law professor, about the judicial nominees being blocked by Democrats. Interviewed by Brit Hume, Turley found little merit to the claim that these judges were outside of the conservative mainsteam, as Democrats, led by Senator Schumer, have claimed.
Turley has expressed his thoughts in expanded form in the Los Angeles Times. He finds that there is no principled basis upon which to filibuster nine of the 12 nominees under fire. He thinks a filibuster can be justified with respect to three nominees — William Haynes, William Myers, and Priscilla Owens.
I’m not persuaded by Turley as to these three. He criticizes Haynes and Myers for “extremist” positions they took in memoranda written in their capacity as Bush administration officials. Without exploring the merits of their positions (which Turley doesn’t do either), it strikes me as odd to argue that positions taken in conjunction with a popularly elected administration are outside of the conservative mainstream. As to Owen, Turley relies on the fact that Alberto Gonzales criticized one of her opinions when they were both judges on the Texas State Supreme Court. This doesn’t seem like the basis for a filibuster. Judges disagree about cases all the time, and sometimes express their disagreement in pointed language. Gonzales clearly considers her qualified, on balance, for a position on the court of appeals.
However, taking Turley’s judgments to be on the mark, it seems clear that the Democrats are abusing the process by preventing votes on nine nominees as to whom even a liberal law professor can find no principled basis for blocking.
Via Real Clear Politics.
UPDATE: As Ipse Dixit reminds us, the claim that Gonzales criticized Owen for activism was debunked several years ago by Terry Eastland. Eastland showed that Owen had not made the argument Gonzales was contending constituted improper activism. And The Committee for Justice points out that Gonzales himself confirmed, in testimony before the Senate earlier this year, that his attack on judicial activism in the case in question was not directed at Owen.


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