Bush Appointments

In a recent editorial, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has pointed out the true hipocrasy of Bush and his administration. Instead of reaching across the aisle, which Bush always says he does, they say, “Rather than extending an open hand, Bush gives the back of his hand to those who don’t share his political philosophy.” Truer words were never spoken.

Bush has renominated a dozen candidates that the Senate has already blocked, due to Democratic filibusters. How is this working across the aisle? You’re right — it’s not. Bush only knows how to bully, and our Democrats in the Senate need to fight back, even with threats from Bill Frist.

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Original URL: http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/jan05/292050.asp

Editorial: A truce on nominations
From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Jan. 11, 2005

President Bush has intimated that his second term will be less divisive than his first. In his acceptance speech in November, he said he would reach out to the 48% of the country that had voted for his Democratic opponent. And in addressing new members of Congress last week, he touted bipartisanship.

Well, Bush has a strange way of practicing bipartisanship, as demonstrated by his renomination of 12 candidates for federal appeals courts whom the Democrats had blocked the first time around. Rather than extending an open hand, Bush gives the back of his hand to those who don’t share his political philosophy.

The president’s actions suggest, unfortunately, that a bitter battle looms over any Supreme Court nomination he makes. Bush is likely to make at least one appointment to the court.

Bush should sit down with his Democratic foes to reach a compromise on judicial nominations. He should bring the nation together, rather than split it even further apart.

Republicans say that the Democrats have been playing dirty pool, unfairly blocking one judicial nominee after another. The truth is that the Senate, with Democratic backing, confirmed one judicial nominee after another – a whopping 207, all told – during Bush’s first term.

The Democrats did block a select few, and one tactic was the filibuster. Which sounds unfair only if you forget that a Republican Senate had blocked dozens of President Clinton’s nominees simply by refusing to act on them. In fact, the GOP inaction explains how Bush gained a plethora of vacancies to fill (vacancies Bush, in turn, would audaciously cite as the need for quick action on his appointees).

This war cries out for a truce. Resubmitting names the Democrats have already rejected is no truce. Keep in mind, too, that almost all of the 207 nominees the Senate did approve rate conservative. The Democrats drew the line on nominees they considered just too extreme.

Bush seems to be daring Democrats to filibuster anew. And Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist, of Tennessee, has warned: “One way or another, the filibuster of judicial nominees must end.” He has threatened the “nuclear option” – a ruling from the Senate’s presiding officer (presumably, Vice President Dick Cheney) that a filibuster against a judicial nominee is unconstitutional. The option is called “nuclear” because it would blow up the longstanding rules for Senate debate.

Rather than dropping that bomb, Frist and the White House should declare a truce in the judicial nomination wars and seek to work out their differences with Democrats.

From the Jan. 12, 2005, editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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