Politics & Policy

It’S The Judges, Stupid

Judicial activism is a theme the GOP has to drive home.

The timing for an unfortunate judicial decision could not have been better. Last Thursday, a New York federal district-court judge ruled that the partial-birth-abortion ban signed by the president last November is unconstitutional–at least as the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution.

The majority of Americans support a ban on partial-birth abortion. But the Supreme Court has their “privacy” concerns and related activist hang-ups.

For Republicans meeting in New York this week, what better issue–outside the war on terror–is there to raise? The Democrats in the United States Senate refuse to confirm judges–refuse to even allow up-and-down votes on some of them. Why isn’t Miguel Estrada on a federal bench today? That’s a question that needs to be asked during the prime-time hours. Tell his story. Tell the story of the Left–which said he was somehow not Hispanic enough to be qualified for the bench (or at least qualified to meet their liberal litmus tests and racial quotas). Imagine watching the image of Russ Feingold berating Bill Pryor because he and his wife changed vacation plans for their young family to avoid Gay Day at Disney.

At a breakfast meeting with National Review editors this week, National Republican Senatorial Committee head George Allen said that the judges controversy is “an issue that really fires up Republicans”–but not only Republicans. He said that on the issue of “the fairness of affording . . . individuals a vote” the party can reach independents, too. An independent may not agree with the Republican platform on abortion, or one or another issue, but, says Allen, “Independents . . . care about fairness.”

Give Americans a clear picture of the injustice of the Left’s obstruction tactics, and let them see the long-term significance of the Democrats’ hijacking of the courts. Paint them a picture; it will rally them. Judges should be a consistent theme for the Republican party this week, and through Nov. 2.

And, though not singularly, who better to drive the issue home than the president himself?

Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, agrees that the issue is a potential winner. “The role of our courts is a critical issue in this election. Every major policy issue is finding itself before judges–Internet pornography, marriage, education, partial-birth abortion, religion in public life, and so many others. Where judges legislate from the bench, they disenfranchise the people, and if that fact makes it to the surface this election season, I think you could see voters react.”

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