Politics & Policy

Three-Piece Suits and Black Robes

Business should get serious about judicial appointments.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the January 31, 2004, issue of National Review.

No one predicts anything but bloodshed over the Bush administration’s forthcoming judicial appointments, especially to the Supreme Court. Active, energetic business support for embattled, highly qualified nominees would help stiffen wavering senators’ backs and break the sure-to-come filibusters. Even so, businessmen continue to maintain their traditional standoffishness on judicial appointments. They haven’t realized–yet–that this is nothing less than a gentle form of corporate suicide.

Business sat out the battles over the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas nominations. Its record in recent brawls over appellate judges has been equally lackluster. Judge William Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama, worked miracles to beat the trial bar in that state by mobilizing support for legislative tort reform and helping get sensible judges elected. He also took a courageous stand against an Alabama supreme court chief justice’s insistence on defying federal law governing the display of religious symbols on government property. Religious groups nonetheless strongly supported Pryor’s recess appointment to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals–while business groups did not lift a finger…

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