The so-called "compromise" by 14 Senate "moderates" over the nomination of judges to the federal bench was a victory for an institution and a defeat for the Constitution. It also ignored the results of the last election and revealed, once again, that at least some Republicans apparently suffer from power attachment disorder - an inability to handle the responsibilities that come from being in the majority.
In spite of all the feel-good spirit, handshaking and smiles at the Monday night announcement of the agreement (and why do you think Minority Leader Harry Reid was smiling and praising the agreement?), the gang of 14 senators undermined a president's right to nominate judges of his judicial philosophy and have them voted up or down.
Senators John Warner, Virginia Republican, and Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, were reported to have examined jots and tittles in the Constitution to see what the founders meant by "advice" in the "advice and consent" clause. Like proof-texting the Bible, they apparently discovered there are ways to get around anything if one spends enough time rationalizing and looking for excuses.
The agreement is without substantive meaning. Some of the very judges deemed by Democrats as "extremist" will be confirmed, while others will not. The provision to support a judicial filibuster only under "extraordinary circumstances" is a phrase left to the interpretation of each senator.
What has brought the country to the brink is not this president or conservative senators. It is rogue judges who have decided in their own minds - shaped by their own social and political biases - to reshape the country in their image.
They have abused the Constitution - not "faithfully executed" what the founders intended - and they have often ignored laws passed by the legislative body in favor of their personal agendas and legal biases.
Among the messages sent by this agreement is that it is perfectly fine to be an activist liberal judge on the Supreme Court if you're nominated by a Democrat president. You just can't be a conservative one and, if you are, you are unlikely to reach the bench.
One of the conservative activist groups pushing for a majority vote on judges, the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters, issued a statement that said the "centrist 'deal' dishonors the Constitution, ignores an election, and forgets four nominees who withdrew their names as a result of Democrat obstruction." Those would be Miguel Estrada, Carolyn Kuhl, Claude Allen and Charles Pickering, in addition to the two cut loose in the moderate deal: William G. Myers III and Henry Saad.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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