Last week, President Bush nominated Sam Alito to fill the vacancy of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. There is no doubt that this will change the makeup of the Supreme Court to a more conservative leaning, based on what we know about Alito’s previous rulings as a judge. Thus liberals from MoveOn to the Democratic Party are whining and have already started plans to filibuster this nomination and delay the vote process.It’s a crying shame that this is the Democrat’s plan to make their point: that they don’t like this judge because of his conservative views. Let me suggest that Judge Alito deserves a fair up-or-down vote, and not a Democrat-led filibuster. It’s time for Americans to wake up and realize that elections have results. Bush was reelected and has the mandate to appoint judges.
Does it really matter whether the judge is to the right or the left of Middle America? Consider Bill Clinton’s judges.
When President Clinton was first elected in 1992, a vacancy was announced on the U.S. Supreme Court. Clinton appointed Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a former chief lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the most left-leaning organizations in America. How did conservatives react? Sure, they didn’t like it, but they were adults about it. Clinton and the Republicans in the Senate came to the understanding that if Clinton nominated highly qualified judges the Republicans would support them.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s confirmation took less than two months to speed through the Senate. It helped, of course, that Democrats were in the majority, but it also helped that Republicans threw no roadblocks in Ginsburg’s way. She was confirmed 96-3. Justice Stephen Breyer was confirmed 87-9.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court judges appointed by Clinton, were generally understood to be liberals, but they had strong judicial backgrounds of scholarship and accomplishment. Clinton nominated both, and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly supported their confirmation. When you win, like George W. Bush did, the winner gets to pick.
Unless a nominee is not qualified, which critics argued about Harriet Miers, who has never been a judge, a vote should be taken. This “Clinton model” is reasonable.
As promising as this model is, there are a handful of childish Democrat senators who are going to vote against Bush’s nominee, no matter what. Ironically, it is these same senators leading the fight against Alito who once praised him. In 1990, when Sam Alito was first nominated to serve as a federal judge, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D) said, “You [Alito] have obviously had a very distinguished record, and I certainly commend you for long service in the public interest. I think it is a very commendable career and I am sure you will have a successful one as a judge,” according to the Senate record from the Committee On The Judiciary.
While 1990 is a long time ago, it should be noted that Alitowas appointed unanimously by a Democratic Senate then. After 15 years of experience as a federal judge, I would think senators would be a little more adamant to support him.
The double standards of senior Democrats in the senate is shameful, and a clear abandonment on their part of the decency and principle of Supreme Court nominations.
Anthony Maalouf is a senior majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish.