Sen. Byrd: Alzheimer's Can't get here fast enough...
Pity the democrats when their elder statesman can think of nothing more constructive to do than to hurl the epithet 'Nazi' at the present administration.
The subject is judicial nominations. Judicial nominations are always important; from a normal person's point of view, it's good to know we have our full compliment of federal judges, going about those things that federal judges are supposed to do --- like uphold the law. It's also nice to know that our court system operates as efficiently as possible, if only because we have, at least, the proper number of people to adjudicate the court's business.
If, however, you are a democrat, and you've lost all vestiges of power in the corridors of Washington, judicial nominees become vitally important for another reason: since you can no longer subvert the republic by legal, Constittutional methods and procedures (like trying to pass a bill in Congress), you must depend on judges to subvert the intent of laws you wish didn't exist, or declare unconstitutional laws you do not like. You need trustworthy judges (in an ideological sense) to govern vicariously through until the day comes when you might steal power again.
Granted, Republicans have done the same thing over the years, so I cannot lay the recent bruohaha completely at the feet of the democrats. But now, here in the 21st century, these kinds of battles are getting ever more ridiculous, ever more bitter and ever more partisan.
Enter Sen. Byrd. According to the good octagenarian sentaor from the inbred state of West Virginia (and how long will it be before we find out he also had illegitimate children by a black woman, too?), the Bush administration's handling of their judicial nominees reminds him of the way in which Adolf Hitler subverted the rule of law in order to institute his Nazi vision across Germany, and eventually, across an entire continent.
Now, if I were a former Klansman and segregationist, par excellance, I would be mighty careful about who I called a Nazi. If my legacy was going to be having every rest stop and child abuse center in the Great State of West-by-God-Virginia named after me, I'd be circumspect about casting aspersions about other people's motives. When it comes to the other democrats on the Judicial committee, like Mr. Schumer, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Leahy, I'd be mighty careful about picking my fights, particularly since my party is in the minority and set to be there for the foreseeable future.
Although it is not engraved in stone that every single nomiee should be rubber-stamped, these ideological tests are ridiculous. As far as I'm concerned, the litmus tests for federal judgeships should be simple and logical; if the nominee doesn't have a criminal record, has served on the bench for a respectable amount of time, and seems to make sense with his/her rulings, then that person is qualified to be a federal judge.
But qualifications and logic don't seem to enter into this equation at all. Hence, al the clap-trap about Nazis and Roe v. Wade. Incidentally, even Roe no longer believes that law to be valid. But I digress.
Aside from the fact that President Bush won the election and is entitled to nominate for any position whomever he wants, I can think of no reason other than ideology that causes these incredible battles over trivial things.
The latest excuse for delaying the process was laid out perfectly by Bill Press the other night on Hannity and Colmes. Bill made the point that the Bush Administration has had 97% of their nominees confirmed in the last five years, and dammit, can't they be satisfied with that? No Bill, they cannot. With the Presidency comes the right to nominate whomever you wish to any federal job. Congress' job after that is simple "advise and consent" not "obstruct and delay". Again, unless we're talking about a grievously unqualified candidate, there should be no problems in getting the nomination through congress. In short, the President should have 100% of his nominees, short of riminal records or eggregious behavior, nominated. To the victors go the spoils.
We're talking about Congress carrying out it's constitutionally-appointed duty to see to it that the "people's business" and the "administration of justice" are carried out. One other thing -- if Ted Kennedy was on any kind of commitee concerned with Justice, I'd be embarrassed to the point of keeping my mouth shut.
Sen. Byrd, fortunately, will not be with us much longer. I don't wish him any ill, it's just a fact of life. Perhaps that explains his attitude and his comments: it's not like anyone is going to hold an old, dying man responsible for his words and deeds. Or perhaps Alzheimers has finally set in.