Remembering when President Bush got his Supreme Court picks and the wailing and gnashing of teeth which ensued (not to mention a slew of partisan Justice Sunday events), I predict we are in for an exciting summer of wankery and wingnuttery.
Digging through the memory hole, there are piles and piles of false arguments, lame-ass excuses and just plain stupidity that the right wing trotted out to support their argument that Democrats should rubber-stamp Bush’s Supreme Court picks and if they didn’t, they were gonna go “nuclear.” I thought it would be interesting, now that the shoe is on the other foot, to see how many of these talking points the Republicans stand by today. I’m guessing .. none.
Without further ado, here are a few of the right wing’s greatest hits, Supreme Court edition:
• Bill Frist, "It’s Time For An Up Or Down Vote" -- That’s not just a talking point, it was the title of a USA Today Op-Ed written by the former Senate Majority Leader. He lamented:
These filibusters of judicial nominations injure the administration of justice and our nation's political culture. Some courthouses have sat empty for many years, even though a bipartisan majority of senators stands ready to fill the vacancies by confirming the president's nominees. And as every American knows, the political wrangling over this issue has become less and less civil with every passing day.
Wonder what the Republicans think of filibustering judicial nominees now?
• Fox News and Republican pundits, who said that asking tough questions during the confirmation process is "nasty,” “vicious” and "just horrific"--because a question a Republican asked made Mrs. Alito cwy.
• Marc Levin writing at Human Events Online said that because polls showed Bush won the 2004 election in response to voters’ “moral values” concerns, Bush had a moral mandate to appoint conservative judges. In that case, I’m sure we can dig up some polls from the 2008 presidential election showing Obama has a moral mandate to appoint liberal judges.
• The National Review’s Ed Whelan instructed readers of Senate tradition on the SCOTUS confirmation process:
The long-established practice in the Senate is for Supreme Court nominees to receive a full Senate vote, even if they don’t receive a favorable vote in the Judiciary Committee. Americans will expect their senators to vote on the nominee, not to delegate a veto to the highly partisan Democrat membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Good to know.
• President Bush said there would be no litmus test for SCOTUS nominees:
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — President Bush, shadowed in Europe by a pressing concern back in Washington, said Wednesday he will not select a Supreme Court nominee based on his or her views on abortion or other hot-button political issues.
During the campaign, John McCain repeated this talking point. So, you guys should be fine if President Obama say no litmus test, right?
• On the other hand, Mike Thompson asserted at Human Events Online that it would be irresponsible not to employ a litmus test:
The truth is, a litmus test should be administered by the President for every candidate for every position in the executive branch. A lesser commitment to examine an applicant or recruit for high office is unconscionable, in view of the President's solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the bedrock principles of our republic. In the Real World, a place decreasingly occupied by liberals, it is inconceivable that major decisions (governmental or personal) would be made without a litmus test. Would an intelligent man, for example, choose a wife without a litmus test for her suitability as a lifelong mate, as defined by that man? Would anyone select a doctor, everyday friends, housing location, job offer, car or family dog without a litmus test?
Heh, kinda funny that quip about the “Real World,” in retrospect. Regardless, should President Obama say he will employ a litmus test (which I doubt), I am sure Mr. Thompson will be fine with that. Yes?
• Conservative columnist Robert Novak informed us that financial disclosure requests from judicial nominees is a “nosy” “intelligence raid” that is possibly unprecedented and left judicial nominees feeling “violated.” Novak was pretty hard on Sen. Harry Reid and others involved in this background research. I’m sure the Republicans will be above any such thing. Right?
• Bill Kristol, who admittedly was wrong about everything, forever, called the 2006 and 2008 elections ”a referendum” on the Supreme Court.
Hmm... which party won those elections again?
I'm sure there will be more. I'm already hearing that President Obama must be "bi-partisan" and appoint a "moderate" to the bench because ... well, just because they want him to, I guess. I'm not sure why Bush had a mandate to appoint "strict constructionists" in the model of Justice Scalia but Obama has to be all bipartisan-y. Maybe doing otherwise will make Mrs. Alito cry again and lord knows we can't have that.