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Filibusters and Philosophy


This morning I had an op-ed on judicial selection in the href=”
icleToMail&Type=text/html&Path=NYS/2003/11/14&ID=Ar00800″>New York
Sun. Here is an excerpt:

But the debate over the filibusters should not detract from
a different and legitimate issue raised by Mr. Schumer: that judicial
philosophy, not just professional accomplishment, is a relevant
qualification for judicial confirmation. True, the credentials and
accomplishments of a candidate are part of what makes a candidate
“qualified” to be a judge, but so too is how the candidate thinks a
judge ought to do his or her job. Republicans implicitly concede this
when they extol a candidate for his or her “judicial restraint” and
condemn others for their “judicial activism.” These terms refer not to
professional credentials and ability but to the attitude toward the job
of judging.

The problem is that “judicial restraint,” “judicial activism,” or
“enforcing and not making the law” are almost completely vacuous terms
whether used by Republicans or by Democrats. Mr. Schumer is right to
raise the issue of judicial philosophy, and Republicans need to explain
just what sort of judges they want appointed.


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