Restora­tion of the ju­di­ciary con­tin­ues

The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee ad­vances a slate of new judges

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Restor­ing the fed­eral ju­di­ciary to its con­sti­tu­tional moor­ings is what many Amer­i­cans call Job 1, and it was on this is­sue they put aside their con­sid­er­able reser­va­tions about Don­ald Trump, swal­lowed hard, con­sid­ered the al­ter­na­tive, hoped for the best, and cast their votes for him. On this score, he has redeemed their faith.

The pres­i­dent came through with his ap­point­ment of Neil Gor­such to the U.S. Supreme Court, who is prov­ing a wor­thy re­place­ment for An­tonin Scalia as a faith­ful ser­vant of the Con­sti­tu­tion, re­gard­ing it not as a weath­er­vane, sub­ject to ev­ery breeze that blows, but as the liv­ing doc­u­ment the Found­ing Fa­thers in­tended it to be.

Mr. Trump con­tin­ues to honor his prom­ise to ap­point judges with due re­gard to the law, prece­dent and above all to the Con­sti­tu­tion. The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee cleared sev­eral more nom­i­nees to fed­eral courts, in­clud­ing ap­peals courts, last week, and hours later an­nounced an­other slate of sim­i­lar nom­i­nees to U.S. Dis­trict courts.

There are 137 va­can­cies in the fed­eral courts, an un­usual num­ber, which gives the pres­i­dent an un­usual op­por­tu­nity to re­shape the ju­di­ciary. Barack Obama used a sim­i­lar op­por­tu­nity to ap­point a large num­ber of judges whose le­gal philoso­phies lean to the left, some­times to the far left. The Con­sti­tu­tion, in this school of law, does not nec­es­sar­ily mean what it says it means, but means what­ever a judge finds it con­ve­nient to be­lieve it means.

Among those names for­warded to the Se­nate on Thurs­day are John Bush, a lawyer in pri­vate prac­tice in Louisville, and Damien Schiff. Mr. Bush was named to the 6th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Cincin­nati and Mr. Schiff was ap­pointed to the U.S. Court of Fed­eral Claims in Wash­ing­ton. In ad­di­tion, the nom­i­na­tion of Kevin New­som to the 11th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in At­lanta was ad­vanced to the Se­nate for con­fir­ma­tion by a vote of 18 to 2, re­mark­able in the present era.

The Bush and Schiff ap­point­ments were par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing in the light of how par­ti­san politics are re­flected now in the ju­di­ciary. Mr. Schiff has called U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy a “ju­di­cial pros­ti­tute” for some of his de­ci­sions, and Mr. Bush called U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz “a sore loser” for de­clin­ing to en­dorse Don­ald Trump at the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion af­ter the con­ven­tion nom­i­nated Mr. Trump for pres­i­dent.

Such par­ti­san­ship has be­come the norm in the fed­eral ju­di­ciary, with most of it on the left, and some of it at the Supreme Court. Jus­tice So­nia So­tomayor promised to rule as “a wise Latina,” pre­sum­ably in lieu of the Con­sti­tu­tion, and Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg threat­ened to move to New Zealand if Mr. Trump was elected. She later apol­o­gized, and stayed in town.

Both John Bush and Damien Schiff sur­vived bruis­ing con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings. Both were grilled for what crit­i­cal sen­a­tors called “in­flam­ma­tory posts” on law blogs, and Mr. Cruz, “the sore loser,” is a mem­ber of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee. He voted to con­firm Mr. Schiff, any­way.

The nom­i­na­tions en­dorsed by the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee last week were greeted with the usual par­ti­san warmth, but as if com­ing from com­pet­ing plan­ets. The Ju­di­cial Cri­sis Net­work said the nom­i­nees were well known for their “prin­ci­pled and even­handed ap­pli­ca­tion of the law,” and “for many Amer­i­cans whose top con­cern in Novem­ber was elect­ing a pres­i­dent who would put com­mit­ted con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist to the courts, this is an­other ma­jor vic­tory.”

But on the other planet, per­haps Pluto, the nom­i­na­tions were viewed as if through a glass, darkly. “[Mr.] Trump’s nom­i­nees thus far have had trou­bling records,” said a spokesman for the Al­liance for Jus­tice, “that have raised real con­cerns about their abil­ity to act in­de­pen­dently of the ex­ec­u­tive branch.” The planet Pluto, ob­vi­ously, is no longer in the as­cen­dency.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.