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108th Congress

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Commentary Archive (107th Congress)

Center to Chairman Patrick Leahy:
Adopt President's Plan to Speed Judicial Confirmations

On October 31, the Center for Individual Freedom sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) urging him to support President Bush's recent nonpartisan proposal to streamline and expedite the judicial nomination and confirmation process.

To read the Center's letter, click here.

Broken Promises and Partisan Politics Shed(d) Light on State of Judicial Confirmation Process

When people think of the U.S. Senate and its history, the name Strom Thurmond comes to mind. The Senior Republican Senator from South Carolina has served in the distinguished chamber for more than 48 years. He is the oldest member ever to serve in Congress; he will turn 100 in December. But when the 107th Congress adjourns for the year, Senator Thurmond, who is ailing, will retire...[more]

McConnell’s Turn in the Barrel

"I am telling you under oath that I will conscientiously enforce the law, including laws and precedent that I don’t agree with... I will tell you with as much conviction as anything, that I believe in and am committed to the rule of law."

That was the recurring theme voiced by University of Utah Law School Professor Michael McConnell at his September 18 confirmation hearing for a seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He waited more than 16 months for his turn on the notorious hot seat that has been anything but judicious to those who preceded him since the Democrats took control of the committee more than a year ago ...[more]

Owen’s Defeat Draws Line in the Sand

The battle over the confirmation of President George W. Bush’s nominations to the federal bench has been anything but routine. However, a nominee who has served as a state supreme court justice over the past eight years, elected to a second term with 84 percent of the vote and with the endorsements of every major newspaper in the state, should clear the Senate’s "advise and consent" hurdle with relative ease. Add to that a unanimous "well-qualified" rating from the American Bar Association’s Committee on the Judiciary, the support of colleagues, a bipartisan group of 15 former state bar presidents, both her state’s senators and a majority in the U.S. Senate and you have a shoo-in, right? ...[more]

John McCain Strikes Again
Who in the World is Ellen Weintraub?

President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees face yet another hurdle in the U.S. Senate — Senator John McCain. The Arizona Republican has placed a hold on all nominations pending before the Senate, including 17 judicial nominees. And the "maverick" senator is vowing to prevent any action on their confirmations until the president assures him that Ellen Weintraub will receive a recess appointment to a seat on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) during Congress’ upcoming August break...[more]

One Nation Under Siege by Establishment Clause Revisionism

A nation at war, which continues to mourn its fallen heroes from 9-11, wrapping itself in the collective comfort of a renewed spirit of patriotism, was rudely awakened yesterday morning to news that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. In response to that ruling out of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Center Executive Director Eric Schippers released this statement...[more]

Estrada Memos Deserve More Privileges: The Debate over the Role and Obligations of Government Lawyers

"All lawyers, whether they are White House lawyers, or private lawyers, or Justice Department lawyers, are bound by the same ethical obligations."

An attorney made that comment in a high-profile case involving the role and obligations of a lawyer in keeping confidential legal advise given to a client. Was it made in the Arthur Andersen document-shredding case involving Nancy Temple, the Andersen lawyer who advised her client not to put something in writing? Was it made by Daniel Bryant, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, in reference to Senator Patrick Leahy’s request for litigation memorandums written by appeals court nominee Miguel Estrada?...[more]

Center to Senate Majority: Confirm the Judges

On the one-year anniversary of the day President George W. Bush sent his first 11 judicial nominees to the Senate for confirmation, the Center joined more than 50 organizations and 29 U.S. Senators at a Capitol Hill press conference to urge Majority Leader Daschle and Chairman Leahy to end the partisan politics and expedite the confirmation process.

To read the Center’s press release, click here.

The Politicalization of Justice

U.S federal courts are in crisis, primarily due to overloaded dockets, escalating judicial vacancies and the refusal of Senate Democrats to move the confirmation process. Instead, the Democrats seek to institutionalize ideology as the benchmark and character assassination as the means to fundamentally alter the constitutional integrity of "advise and consent."...[more]

(Not) Another Hallmark Holiday

May 1, 2002 marked the 45th commemoration of National Law Day. In recognition, like many of his predecessors, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation, calling on all Americans to "reflect on the vital work performed by our Federal Judiciary in upholding the rule of law and on the importance of a robust and independent judiciary in our system of government." The president also sent his 100th judicial nominee to the U.S. Senate...[more]

Confirmation Watch Update

The judicial confirmation process continues to stall in the Senate, and it appears the war over several embattled nominees has only just begun. This week, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) invoked his right under Senate rules to delay, for one week, the scheduled committee vote of Judge Charles Pickering, the president’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He did so with the hope that at least one of his Democratic colleagues on the committee will change his mind on Pickering’s nomination. As it stands now, the move may only delay the inevitable, as the vote is all-but-certain to be a party-line 10-9 vote against the nomination...[more]

Center Urges End to Partisan Blockade of President Bush's Judicial Nominees

The Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) today (February 7, 2002) urged Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to expedite the judicial confirmation process and reject political and ideological litmus tests as standards for confirming judicial nominees...[more]

Center Joins Independent Women’s Forum in Urging Majority Leader to Confirm Judicial Nominees

On January 21, the Center joined the Independent Women’s Forum and more than 40 law professors, legal professionals, former government officials, and policy experts in urging Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) to "act with all deliberate speed to conduct hearings and schedule floor votes on all of the President’s judicial nominees." The letter was also sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Minority Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and reproduced as an ad in the January 21 edition of Roll Call. To read the letter, click here.

Confirm the Judges, Mr. Chairman

Senator Leahy’s stated commitment could not be more urgent. The problem is it was made on February 22, 2000, when Mr. Leahy was ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans held the chamber’s majority and Bill Clinton was President of the United States...[more]

The Politics of 2002

A year plagued by war, recession, bioterror attacks and political bickering ended with a considerable amount of unfinished business in the nation’s capitol — by design. Memories of bipartisan pledges faded as Congress abandoned unity and cooperation with not even a wink and a nod...[more]

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