Posted by Curt on 1 April, 2009 at 11:04 am. 24 comments already!

I’m kinda torn by this news:

No longer able simply to defend choices made by a fellow Republican, as they did under President George W. Bush, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have turned into vocal critics of many of President Obama’s legal nominees. They complain that several are committed liberal ideologues, much in the way Democrats complained that Mr. Bush’s choices were committed conservative ideologues.

But so far, facing a solid Democratic majority in the Senate, they have been able to do little beyond briefly delaying confirmation. Now they are weighing whether to use the filibuster — a threat of extended debate, the tool many Republican senators regularly denounced when it was used by Democrats to block some Republican nominees. These are certainly different times.

The current Republican focus is on a pair of nominees: Mr. Obama’s first selection for a federal appeals court seat, David F. Hamilton, and his choice to head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, Dawn Johnsen. (By coincidence, the two are in-laws.)

Well, if it was fair for the Democrats to use this tactic during Bush’s term….it’s fair now. But I also understand elections have consequences.

BUT…..the two they are thinking about blocking deserve to be blocked from confirmation. First is the nominee to a federal appellate court seat, David F. Hamilton, who is just plain incompetent AND super liberal:

It’s far from clear what justifies the article’s characterization of Hamilton as a “moderate” (or, as the article oddly puts it, as “represent[ing] some of his state’s traditionally moderate strain”—how does one represent some of a strain?). Was it perhaps Hamilton’s service as vice president for litigation, and as a board member, of the Indiana branch of the ACLU? Or maybe Hamilton’s extraordinary seven-year-long series of rulings obstructing Indiana’s implementation of its law providing for informed consent on abortion?That obstruction elicited this strong statement (emphasis added) from the Seventh Circuit panel majority that overturned Hamilton:

For seven years Indiana has been prevented from enforcing a statute materially identical to a law held valid by the Supreme Court in Casey, by this court in Karlin, and by the fifth circuit in Barnes. No court anywhere in the country (other than one district judge in Indiana [i.e., Hamilton]) has held any similar law invalid in the years since Casey. Although Salerno does not foreclose all pre-enforcement challenges to abortion laws, it is an abuse of discretion for a district judge to issue a pre-enforcement injunction while the effects of the law (and reasons for those effects) are open to debate.

Or perhaps Hamilton’s inventive invocation of substantive due process to suppress evidence of a criminal defendant’s possession of cocaine marijuana, a ruling that, alas, was unanimously reversed by the Seventh Circuit?

With “moderates” like Hamilton, imagine what Obama’s “liberal” nominees will look like.

And Ed Morrissey describes the other nominee for head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, Dawn Johnsen:

Rather than appoint a moderate, Obama has clearly chosen a committed Leftist to the Office of Legal Counsel, the body that advises all executive-branch agencies on legalities of policy and process. Senate Republicans have mostly objected to the partisan tenor of her objection to Bush-era OLC opinions, but as Neil Lewis points out, most of those opinions got withdrawn towards the end of the Bush administration anyway. But Kathryn Jean Lopez rightly points out that her positions and former arguments on abortion — equating it to emancipation — make Johnsen a radical regardless of the eventual resolution of the Bush-era OLC memos.

Having major lefties being nominated for these positions instead of moderates, whom Bush almost always nominated, should be challenged….especially on incompetence. And maybe, just maybe, this will force the Democrats to go to the nuclear option and we can do away with this tactic forever.

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