Democrat-Controlled Senate Would Be Disastrous for Judicial Nominees

About this time last year, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said something that has stuck with me ever since I read about it. He was showing off his hand-picked Pennsylvania Senate candidate, Bob Casey Jr., trying to convince liberal power players that Casey’s pro-life stance wouldn’t “be a problem.” When addressing the Democrat caucus, Schumer said: “There’s no worry on judges. … And judges is the whole ball of wax.” For once, Chuck was right: judges are the whole ball of wax.

While Congress has the constitutional responsibility to make important policy decisions, our actions can also be quickly modified or terminated by subsequent legislation. Judges, however, make nearly irreversible decisions that can influence the nation for decades. Confirming bad judges or preventing good ones from taking the bench can have devastating consequences for generations. I truly believe that handing Democrats control of the U.S. Senate would have a disastrous impact on our judiciary, would put President Bush’s excellent nominees at risk, and would have enduring, unforeseen effects. The stakes are that high.

Unfortunately, many Democrats believe that the proper role of a judge is to craft solutions to society’s perceived ills by legislating from the bench. The notion of an unelected few creating laws at their own pleasure while hog-tying legislatures doesn’t seem like democracy to me. Rather, it is a system designed to give liberal elites—who know the American people do not share their worldview—an end run around democracy. Reshaping the judiciary is the last refuge of liberals, their last hope to inflict their agenda on the American people. If they can’t get elected on their platform, liberals are willing to impose it from the bench.

Liberal activist judges such as those in Massachusetts (and now New Jersey) have refused to defend marriage and are attacking traditional values. Leftist-dominated courts are engaged in an effort to remove all references to God from the public arena. And even the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned the forced sale of private property to the government without a clearly defined public use. America cannot afford more liberal activist judges, and it cannot afford a Democrat Senate that will prevent good judges from taking the bench.

As with their positions on economic and security policy, Democrats know the American people do not support their vision of the role of judges. That’s why Democrats are employing what I like to call their “Trojan Horse” strategy. Instead of telling the truth about what a Democrat majority would do to our judiciary, Democrats either ignore the issue or speak in bland generalities. Remember “no-problem-on-judges” Bob Casey Jr.? Well, nowhere on the “issue” section of his campaign website is the subject of judges even mentioned (nor for that matter is abortion).

Democrats are betting that the American people will simply hand them the keys to the Senate, and not think about what that might mean for our judiciary. But we only need to look at the Democrat record to see what they would do with their majority. Over the last six years, Democrats opposed qualified nominees and made a mockery of the confirmation process. The effort to derail the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, two of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees ever to come before the Senate, showed just how far out of the mainstream Senate Democrats really are. Not only did Harry Reid vote against both nominees, he also voted to filibuster Samuel Alito. In fact, during the last two Congresses, Harry Reid voted 22 times to filibuster the President’s appellate court nominees.

And, of course, we cannot forget the last time Democrats held the Senate majority. During his two years at the helm of the Judiciary Committee, then-Chairman Pat Leahy (D.-Vt.) blocked nominee after nominee (28 of them never even received votes). Returning him to the chairmanship and making Harry Reid majority leader would turn the Senate into a dead end for President Bush’s nominees.

It is so very important that conservatives vote this Tuesday to prevent Harry Reid from playing an even greater role in the confirmation process. Simply put, a Democrat Senate would leave the right kind of judges—those who adhere to the principle of judicial restraint—sitting on the sidelines while their nominations die in committee or on the Senate floor. Without those judges on the bench, our country has little hope of protecting our shared traditions and values. Like Chuck Schumer said, judges are the whole ball of wax.