Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Confirmation Process Is Partisan

After 2 days of hearings on the nomination of Judge Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, it appears that every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee will support the nomination and every Democrat will oppose the nomination. The confirmation process no longer serves to determine whether the nominee is qualified. Instead, the process has become a mostly partisan exercise.

The recent confirmation of John Roberts illustrates the partisan nature of the process. Despite Roberts's unusually outstanding qualifications, half of the Senate Democrats, 22 of 44, voted not to confirm him.

Alito also has outstanding qualifications, including 15 years on the federal appellate bench and a unanimous "well qualified" rating from the ABA. Despite his level of qualifications, all 8 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee and perhaps 40 of the 44 Democrats in the whole Senate will likely vote against Alito.

The issue in the judicial confirmation process is partly partisan opposition to anything Pres. Bush proposes but mostly a partisan effort to accomplish or prevent social and economic change through the courts. It would be far better for these social and economic issues to be decided by Congress rather than by the courts. If nothing else, that would return the judicial confirmation process to an investigation of judicial qualifications, instead of the investigation of political views.


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