Tonight the Senate GOP leadership will begin a true fight - in the form of a 30-hour marathon debate - over President Bush's judicial nominations that are being filibustered by the Democrats.
Most on the Right are saying, "It's about time."
But we need to be prepared to hear some nasty things said about conservatives, especially conservative judges, in the news reports and from the mouths of liberals.
Why? Because the Left believes that conservatives are unfit to dole out justice and that liberal power will be threatened if the courts are made up of constructionists rather than activists.
To what extent do liberals consider conservatism an anathema? Here's what Sen. Tom Daschle (D.-S.D.) said in a press conference May 10, 2001:
- "And what concerns me is, when you fire parliamentarians and fire the ABA and, you know, put right-wing justices on the courts, you continue to see even greater and greater degradation of the rule of law."
On the Senate floor Sen. Patrick Leahy stated:
- "The Republican candidate for President [George W. Bush] says that his models for judicial nominees are the most conservative current Justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. If they formed the majority in the years ahead, our rights would be greatly diminished. . ." (Congressional Record, S11315, October 28, 2000)
Liberals regularly seek to achieve through the courts what they cannot achieve through legislation. For example, last year, in facing the possibility of confirming a conservative like Priscilla Owen, they feared their agenda would be thwarted. Therefore, the Judiciary Committee Democrats implied Justice Owen was a knuckle-dragging conservative whose rulings would only revert the rights of women, the poor, and minorities. Fox News, on September 5, 2002, reported:
- "'Not only does this appellate court represent many people who are poor, many people who are minority, many people who depend on the court for a fair and impartial shake,' [Senator Feinstein] said. But the court needs a judge that rules 'based on the law, not on the basis of the justice's beliefs.'"
In an editorial on September 13, 2002, following the defeat of the Owen nomination in the Judiciary Committee last Congress at the hands of the Democrat majority, the Washington Post stated:
- "The Senate Judiciary Committee's rejection last week of President Bush's nominee to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Priscilla Owen, opens a distressing new chapter in the war over judicial nominations. Justice Owen was not rejected because she is unqualified for the post. . . She was rejected on a party-line vote because she is a conservative."
This is why the fight over President Bush's nominees started in the first place. Now the Republican Senate leadership needs to take it to their opponents and bring the battle to an end. If Democrats continue to face a drubbing over their judicial filibusters they will eventually - if they have a clue - relent: it has proven to be a losing issue for them in the voting booths of America.