For 200 years the Senate carefully considered the professional track record of any judge nominated for the federal bench.
That changed three years ago when ranking Democrats decided to turn the Senate Judiciary Committee into their own personal meat grinder. Despite having nearly one hundred federal judgeships to fill, these Democrats resolved to torpedo most of President Bush's nominations. This partisan blood oath-as opposed to careful consideration of the Jurist's record-now decides who presides over our federal courts. At least one major implication is that the dearth of federal judges (one eight of all federal judgeships still remain to be filled) will undermine the administration of justice in this country.
The latest victim is Justice Janice Rogers Brown, the first black woman to sit on California's Supreme Court. Brown has been nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a position that is widely regarded as a stepping stone to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Brown's track record is impeccable.
Nonetheless, the Democrats have dug in their heels in opposition. Unable to criticize Justice Brown's professional conduct, the Democrats have taken to attacking her through a series of reductive and increasingly racist smears.
First the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized her "right-wing" statements in speeches, as though the roles of public speaker and judge are even remotely comparable.
Then the New York Times editors wrote that, ''she has declared war on the mainstream legal values that most Americans hold dear. And she has let ideology be her guide in deciding cases.'' But even a cursory review of her record makes clear that Justice Brown is firmly entrenched in the mainstream, as evidenced by the fact that she wrote more majority opinions than any other Justice on the California Supreme Court. Most insidious is the suggestion by certain democrats that Justice Brown is "not black enough." Senator Chuck Schumer of New York criticized Justice Brown for voting against ''minorities'' and ''low-income'' people. Schumer makes no mention of specific cases where Brown ruled against "minorities" and ''low-income'' people who actually deserved to win. He just oh so casually insinuates racism. In effect, Schumer is criticizing Brown for treating the constitution as colorblind (wasn't this one of the major goals of the civil rights movement?).
Now a handful of racist, Democrats in the Senate-and the black leaders they drag in tow-are joining in on the race baiting. "…She makes Clarence Thomas look like Thurgood Marshall," sneered Rep Diane Watson (D-CA). A joint press release by the NAACP and People for the American Way calls Justice Brown a "far right dream judge."