January 07, 2003
By the way, in case there weren't enough depressing news to go around, our new Senator John Cornyn has a seat on the Judiciary Committee, which means that the renomination of Priscilla Owen to the federal bench is pretty much a given. All you fans of judicial activism should be pleased as punch.
UPDATE: And she's bringing Charles Pickering with her:
"This is not an issue like affirmative action where people of good faith can disagree," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and a member of the judiciary committee. "To renominate Judge Pickering, who has not built a distinguished record and is probably best known for intervening on behalf of a cross burner, shows that Nixon's Southern strategy is alive and well in this White House."
Among Pickering's supporters is longtime friend Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the former Senate majority leader forced to step down from his leadership position over racially insensitive remarks.
We can certainly argue over whether or not Judge Pickering is qualified, impartial, fair, whatever. Is it really smart politically for Bush to give the Democrats a Trent Lott-related talking point this soon after supposedly putting that embarrassing incident to bed?
Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 07, 2003 to Election 2002
Regarding the Hines article, I think he lost me when he referred to Rove as Bush's "envoy to the far right."
I suppose one can argue that Owen is a judicial activist, but surely there's someone better to make the case than Cragg Hines. And surely by now someone on the left has considered the objections raised by Steve Chapman months ago.
Personally, I think it's great for the progeny of Progressive constitutionalism to be denouncing ANY form of judicial activism. Sort of like countering tax-cut proposals with "yes, but they should be smaller" or "yes, but they should reward [different special interest group] instead" is also great.
Baby steps, maybe, but steps in the right direction. :)
The only accusations that Owen is a judicial activist seem to arise for In Re Jane Roe, and if one actually reads her opinion it sounds quite reasonable (and I have). But, for the sake of argument, let us even grant that she ignored the law in that case to suit her own personal views -- are there any other examples of her doing this? If there aren't, is she truely a "judicial activist?" I can point to a dozen cases where certain liberal justices have ignored the law, especially on SCOTUS. Can the same be done with Owen, or is this just a matter of disagreement on a single case? Even Hines couldn't find another concrete example to employ, so he took the shortcut of noting that left-wingers oppose her. Big surprise.
As for Pickering, the argument against him is so incredibly weak that it boggles the mind, and I don't think he should be disqualified simply because of Trent Lott's actions. Not only is he popular with blacks in Mississippi, but his actions in the cross burning case were based on disparate sentencing, not sympathy for the act of cross burning. I'll grant that renominating Pickering may not make political sense at this time, but it would shameless pandering to do otherwise.