President Bush went to Monday to give a speech on his judicial philosophy, nomination of judges and their confirmations. The Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, a conservative public policy institute at Ashland University, and the Federalist Society sponsored his speech.
The remarks broke no new ground, serving instead as a bit of legacy casting and political framing.
Although…his criticism of how the Senate handled Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the Circuit Court of the was quite sharp. And the remarks about the effects of the vicious, consciously dishonest campaigns against judicial candidates are important reminders:
The broken confirmation process has other consequences that Americans never see. Lawyers approached about being nominated will often politely decline because of the uncertainty and delay and ruthlessness that now characterizes the confirmation process. Some worry about the impact a nomination might have on their children, who would hear their dad or mom’s name dragged through the political mud. This situation is unacceptable, and it’s bad for our country. A judicial nomination should be a moment of pride for nominees and their families — not the beginning of an ugly battle. And the confirmation process should befit the greatest democracy in the world — and not look like a bad episode of Survivor. (Laughter.)
Not a good place for a joke, Mr. President. The treatment of nominees for federal positions, not just judgeships, is abhorrent. If the public fully appreciated the cynical and ugly machinery put into play in Washington to destroy people’s reputations, well…oh, who knows what would happen. One hopes some corrective voting.
Tying his remarks to the first day of the Supreme Court’s fall term, we’d also guess the President sought to prompt a useful question or two in tonight’s debate in Tennessee between Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama.
The L.A. Times blogged on the speech, and the Washington Times deemed it newsworthy. Coincidently (perhaps), AP Ohio also ran a story on the race for the Ohio State Supreme Court, “Northeast Ohio judges look to unseat GOP justices.”
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