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Only Democrats compromise on court appointments

GEORGE E. CURRY | 2/29/2016, 12:44 p.m.
President Obama has announced that despite threats from Republican leaders, he plans to nominate someone to fill the Supreme Court ...
George Curry

(George Curry Media) – President Obama has announced that despite threats from Republican leaders, he plans to nominate someone to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia.

I hope he ignores the advice of Vice President Joe Biden who wants him to select someone who isn’t staunchly liberal.

Biden said, “… my advice is, the only way we get someone on the court, now or even later, is to do what we’ve done in the past … we have to pick somebody, as the president will, who is intellectually competent, is a person of high moral character, is a person who is demonstrated to have an open mind, and is a person who doesn’t come with a specific agenda.

“… the idea that we’re going to go in and decide we’re going to pick an, I don’t know, a new Justice Brennan, I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s not how the system works.”

That’s not how it works for Democrats. And it doesn’t work because they are such wimps when it comes to standing up for their beliefs.

You have never heard nor will you ever hear a Republican talk about not nominating any judge because he or she is too conservative. In fact, they have made a point of putting right-wing reactionaries on the court: Clarence Thomas, John G. Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony M. Kennedy and, of course, Antonin Scalia.

Yet, Democrats – and only Democrats – feel compelled to appoint less doctrinaire justices in order to appease Republicans who oppose them at every turn. That’s a one-way street to nowhere.

Conservatives have created a vast network through The Federalist Society “dedicated to reforming the current legal order.” From establishing chapters on every law school campus, to arranging internships with like-minded lawyers, and screening potential judges for Republican presidents, The Federalist Society is leaving its right-wing imprint on the courts.

To their disappointment, David Souter was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush, but ended up siding with liberals on the bench. “No More Souters” became the boisterous chant of disappointed conservatives.

Though they are arch-conservatives, Roberts and Kennedy have been sharply criticized by conservatives for certain votes. Roberts provided the deciding vote to uphold the legality of the Affordable Care Act and Kennedy voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Washington Times noted in September, “As a precursor to the upcoming Republican presidential debate, a conservative group is starting a campaign push to get the candidates on the record about how they would approach Supreme Court nominations.

“‘Demand justices with a proven record of upholding the constitution. We can’t afford more surprises,’ a narrator says in the first advertisement by the Judicial Crisis Network, which features the faces of Justices John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy and retired Justice David Souter, all Republican picks to the court.”

The narrator added, “On the most important issues, the Supreme Court decides. The next president could appoint a new majority to last a generation.”