Third Party & Independents Archives

Realistic "Advise" missing from Advise and Consent

Many have bemoaned the failure of President Bush to fully cooperate with the concept of Advise and Consent. I personally have made statements that President Clinton worked with Senator Hatch much more closely than President Bush has worked with the Democrats. Often it has been written what the Democrats do not want and do not like about John Roberts. Look closer though and you will see something disturbing.

Buried in the bottom of a CNN article about the vote on John Roberts nomination I read the following blurb:

Reid and Leahy also suggested other Hispanic candidates, including Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

I did a double take, and it came very clear to me that if this indeed was the type of suggestion being made by the Democrats? They were not fully participating in the process. Sonia Sotomayor at first glance looks promising as she was nominated by President Bush in 1991 for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Some of you who are baseball fans might remember she is the Judge who ruled against MLB during the strike in 1995.

Even though she was nominated and confirmed under President George H. Bush; when President Clinton nominated her in 1997 for the U.S. Court of Appeals Second District, Republicans began opposing her nomination. Senator Leahy tried to imply that the Republicans were purposely blocking minority candidates. It was felt that she was one of those "activist" judges because she publicly stated that law can and should "evolve" without constitutional amendments. She was confirmed with Democratic support and the Republicans being split on her confirmation.

I then found when researching to make sure I was being accurate for this posting that National Review wrote an article back in July concerning the actions of Democrats in this Advise and Consent process. While I think it fair to point out that National Review does not write that Sotomayor was first nominated in 1991 by President Bush, it does highlight some very clear differences in the response from the opposing party in the past. I'd also like to point out this statement made on the floor by Senator Leahy in 1998 where he makes the demand that judicial candidates get an up or down vote. Leahy also makes clear his concerns on the Republican response/behavior in confirming these candidates.

You can attempt to blame this on the current President for not working more closely with the Democrats. The whole he promised to unite but has not. The reality is if the Democrats were making valid suggestions for candidates that would even be possible for a Republican President to consider? Then it would be an issue. However with suggestions like those that has been publicly released? It is obvious the Democrats are not interested in participating fully in the process. Yes, the Republicans prevented Clinton nominees no one can deny that, but to attempt to make the public impression that President Bush is not taking their suggestions seriously is not valid. Senator Hatch suggested candidates he did not necessarily fully support but ones that he felt President Clinton could consider.

I hesitated in writing about this, because I do not want to become a Bush apologist. I do not agree with much of what has been done during his presidency nor do I think the Republicans have always "behaved" better than the Democrats. Then I decided that is what this middle column is all about, exposing both sides when necessary without partisanship. To make the point of look how the Democrats are acting as a minority party, do you really want to merely replace Republicans with them?

Posted by Lisa Renee Ward at September 22, 2005 11:50 AM