Elsewhere, Sen. Leahy was unwittingly auditioning for a stand-up comedy gig as he righteously announced, during an interview on Vermont Public Radio, that he will vote against Judge Roberts if he seems likely to pursue an activist philosophy. Leahy said, "I want to find out if he's going to be as active as … people like Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, who have almost willy-nilly overruled things."
To devout liberals like Leahy, Kennedy and Schumer, an activist Supreme Court judge is one who would roll back precedent established by rampant liberal judicial activism. They know "judicial activism" has a negative connotation, just like "liberal," which they euphemize as "progressive," so they simply turn it completely on its head, accusing its fiercest opponents -- Scalia, Thomas, etc. -- of being its practitioners.
How can we trust people who so freely distort the language? To understand the magnitude of Leahy's deception, consider the type of judge he views as "a judge of proven competence, temperament and fairness." Edward Whelan, writing for National Review's "Bench Memos" blog, reminds us that Leahy so described Clinton nominee Lee Sarokin, who Leahy supported in 1994 for confirmation to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to Whelan, Sen. Hatch stated that Sarokin was known as a "stridently liberal judicial activist," and one who described himself as a "flaming liberal" as a judge. Whelan adds, "The Third Circuit had lambasted Sarokin for 'judicial usurpation of power,' for ignoring 'fundamental concepts of due process,' for destroying the appearance of judicial impartiality, and for 'superimpos[ing his] own view of what the law should be in the face of the Supreme Court's contrary precedent."
If Sarokin is such an activist that he would defy Supreme Court precedent while legislating from his lower bench, imagine what he would do on the Supreme Court. Yet this is the type of guy Leahy considers a model jurist -- as he falsely labels judges with reverence for the Constitution and their proper role under it, as "activists."
I welcome a public fight in the Senate chambers over the Roberts nomination. Then, television viewers can see for themselves just how extreme these people have become as they seek to paint Judge Roberts "outside the mainstream," in yet another egregious example of their willful distortion of the language.