Today’s hysterical “scary new direction” augury is brought to you by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne Jr., for demanding of the Senate to accept Not One More Roberts or Alito should there be another Supreme Court vacancy during President Bush’s tenure:
The Senate should refuse even to hold hearings on Bush’s next Supreme Court choice, should a vacancy occur, unless the president reaches agreement with the Senate majority on a mutually acceptable list of nominees.
As for the Supreme Court, we now know that the president’s two nominees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, are exactly what many of us thought they were: activist conservatives intent on leading a judicial counterrevolution. Yesterday’s 5 to 4 ruling tossing out two school desegregation plans was another milestone on the court’s march to the right.
Even after he was confirmed, Roberts was talking about something other than the 5 to 4 conservative court we saw this year on case after case. In a speech at Georgetown University Law School in May 2006, Roberts rightly argued that “the rule of law is strengthened when there is greater coherence and agreement about what the law is.” It’s a shame this quest for broader majorities had so little bearing on the 2007 Roberts-led court.
That’s why a majority of senators should warn Bush now that they will not take up his nominee unless he strictly construes the Constitution’s provision that he appoint justices with “the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” The rule should be: If the advice isn’t taken, there will be no consent.
So Dionne’s “Advice and Consent” to Congress that’s currently enjoying a 24% approval rating is to piss off the American people even more by obstructing judicial appointments and refusing to do their job if the nominee is an “activist conservative” – whatever the hell that means; I’m guessing someone whose judicial philosophy doesn’t match up with that of E.J. Dionne.
But the Constitution (you know, that pesky document that defines the role of our government) gives the President of the United States the sole responsibility of appointing federal judges. Nowhere is he instructed to follow any advice from Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy or Harry Reid.
Dionne’s call for obstructionism is only slightly less ridiculous than the plan to impeach justices who do not achieve Chief Justice Robert’s goal of consensus by siding with Ruth Bader Ginsburg every time.
It is safe to say the addition of Roberts and Alito moved the court further to the right than many of us expected because Roberts turned out to be every bit as conservative as his predecessor was, and was in agreement with Alito more than any two justices were this term. Not everyone will be comfortable with this new court, but the hysterics are rather unnecessary.