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Bench Memos

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The Washington Post on the Next Nominee



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The Washington Post’s editorial today on “The Next Nominee” manages to identify only one sitting judge who is “strongly qualified” and “would add diversity to the court while honoring President Bush’s oft-repeated insistence on justices who will not legislate from the bench”: Judge José Cabranes of the Second Circuit. I hadn’t previously noticed any public mention of Judge Cabranes’s name–which shouldn’t be surprising in light of the fact that Cabranes was appointed to his current position by President Clinton in 1994 and to his previous post as a district judge by President Carter in 1979.

Cabranes may well be a fine judge, especially by the standards of Clinton appointees. (I’m not familiar with his record, and I doubt the Post has reviewed it with care.) But without showing how Cabranes would fit President Bush’s vision of judging, the Post is hardly reasonably in promoting someone with his judicial pedigree as a serious candidate.

At the same time, the Post loosely asserts that from “some of the candidates reportedly being considered, the White House appears tempted to sacrifice both quality and breadth of potential support in order to push the court to the right.” If the Post’s comment is aimed at specific candidates, it ought to name them, rather than seem to engage in a sweeping smear of all the other female and minority judges whose names have been mentioned. The reality of the matter, of course, is that the Post hasn’t done all the hard work to have an informed view of these other candidates. It shouldn’t pretend otherwise.



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