The economy is the only issue we should be concerned with for this election. Right?
… Well, not if the Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN) has anything to say about it. Formed in 2005 to support the confirmation of President Bush’s judicial nominees, the JCN is now launching TV ads aimed at bringing judicial issues back to the forefront.
Wall Street may dominate the popular imagination, but the JCN’s Gary Marx is quick to point out that other major issues simply cannot be put aside during the financial crisis. The stakes are, indeed, high. While today’s economic woes might well be resolved in two or three years, a Supreme Court Justice is appointed for life. The challenge, of course, is to remind voters that the person we elect in a few short weeks will make decisions that impact more not just the economy – but a variety of issues ranging from abortion to free speech.
As proof of just how important legal issues could be in the next administration, Marx noted that several Supreme Court justices are nearing retirement age (John Paul Stevens, for example, is eighty-eight years old!). Perhaps even more telling, however, is the fact that he seemed to think that there is, at least, a possibility that Senator Hillary Clinton could become Justice Hillary Clinton under an Obama Administration.
The issue of judges may not be getting as much focus as the JCN would like, but perhaps their own efforts could change that. Their latest television ad made quite a splash by asserting that Barack Obama’s poor choice of associates -- William Ayers (whose wife Bernadine Dorn is a law professor), Tony Rezko, and Jeremiah Wright -- reflects badly on his judgment, which will be crucial in his selection of Supreme Court justices.
Not surprisingly, the New York Times was a little miffed. “There is no way”, said Times reporter Patrick Healy, “that Senator Barack Obama would ever nominate three controversial figures from his past to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Yet, the names and faces of the three mean appear in a new television ad.”