Thursday, June 09, 2005

Nelson Confirms Bush's "Most Objectionable" Judge

by Kyle Michaelis
It's times like this when Sen. Ben Nelson's alleged common sense centrism doesn't seem to cut it. Here's the World-Herald on one of those moments we have 17 months to forgive or forget before voting for the man come November 2006:
After a personal meeting with her, Sen. Ben Nelson cast the lone Democratic "yes" vote as the Senate confirmed, 56-43, California Judge Janice Rogers Brown for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The Nebraska Democrat met recently with Brown in his Senate office, where he asked her whether she would be a judicial activist and use cases to promote an ideology, Nelson spokesman David DiMartino said Thursday. "She didn't think her decisions could be classified as judicial activism"....

In Wednesday's vote, other Democrats opposed Brown for comments in speeches, such as her saying that senior citizens "blithely cannibalize their grandchildren" through entitlement programs.

Brown told Nelson that the comments didn't reflect how she handles cases...Nelson voted for Brown because he "felt she was very open and very honest and addressed his concerns," DiMartino said.

Sometimes it's an act of courage to stand alone. Other times you deserve to be solo because you're just plain wrong. This profile of Brown in today's New York Times suggests the latter on this one as Nelson broke with his fellow Democrats:
Janice Rogers Brown, the African-American daughter of Alabama sharecroppers who was confirmed Wednesday to the federal appeals court (in Washington D.C.), often invokes slavery in describing what she sees as the perils of liberalism.

"In the heyday of liberal democracy, all roads lead to slavery," she has warned in speeches. Society and the courts have turned away from the founders' emphasis on personal responsibility, she has argued, toward a culture of government regulation and dependency that threatens fundamental freedoms....

This week, some Senate Democrats have singled her out as the most objectionable of President Bush's more than 200 judicial nominees, citing her criticism of affirmative action and abortion rights but most of all her sweeping denunciations of New Deal legal precedents that enabled many federal regulations and social programs - developments she has called "the triumph of our socialist revolution"....

She has often said that she has been guided through the challenges of her life and work by her deep Christian faith, and she has often argued that judges should look to higher authorities than precedent or manmade laws in making decisions.

If that last bit isn't the very definition of "judicial activism," I don't know what would be. Most judges are Christian, and that's great - but the idea that they should look to their religion rather than the law for guidance is incredibly deadly to democracy.

Did Nelson at least ask Brown how she could make such an utterly unconstitutional claim? If so, what possible excuse could she have made? There is no justification for this inserting of personal ideology in the most sacred of American institutions - its courts of LAW. A court without respect and deference to the law is not home to justice but rather judicial tyranny of a sort far more radical and dangerous than the progressive interpretation of the living constitution upheld by liberals.

Ben Nelson knows this and should be ashamed for this cowardly vote. Now that it's over, it's a matter between he and his constituents and he and his conscience (if there's a difference). I tell ya' - that's got to be some sort of moral gymnastics being performed in that brain. Either that, or he just really doesn't give a damn (a consideration I'll be forced to take far more seriously if Nelson continues in this vein, especially if he votes to confirm John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations).


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