Bench Memos

This Week in Liberal Judicial Activism—Week of July 21

Democratic filibusters and Teddy Kennedy’s rantings:
   
July 22 2004—Continuing their unprecedented campaign of judicial filibusters, Senate Democrats exert their minority power to prevent cloture on President George W. Bush’s nominations of Richard A. Griffin, David W. McKeague, and Henry W. Saad to supposed Michigan seats on the Sixth Circuit.  Griffin, first nominated in May 2003, and McKeague, first nominated in November 2001, are finally confirmed in June 2005.  Saad, never confirmed, finally withdraws his nomination in March 2006. 
   
July 25 1990—Less than three months after appointing New Hampshire supreme court justice David Hackett Souter to the First Circuit, President George H.W. Bush nominates him to the Supreme Court vacancy resulting from Justice Brennan’s retirement.  

Displaying his usual perspicacity and deploying his full arsenal of clichés, Teddy Kennedy, one of nine Democrats to vote against Souter’s confirmation, rails against Souter:  Souter had not demonstrated “a sufficient commitment to the core constitutional values at the heart of our democracy.”  His record “raised troubling questions about the depth of his commitment to the role of the Supreme Court and Congress in protecting individual rights and liberties under the Constitution.” His record on civil rights was “particularly troubling” and “reactionary”.  On voting rights, he “was willing to defend the indefensible.”  He was not “genuinely concerned about the rights of women” and had “alarming” views on Roe v. Wade.  He would “turn back the clock on the historic progress of recent decades.”

Alas, as a justice, Souter has been far more left-wing on hot-button issues than even Kennedy could have hoped. Contrary to media depictions of him as a “moderate,” Souter has read into the Constitution the Left’s agenda on a broad range of issues: for example, abortion (including partial-birth abortion), homosexual conduct (including a virtual declaration of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage), imposition of secularism as the national creed, and reliance on foreign law to determine the meaning of the Constitution.

   

For an explanation of this recurring feature, see here. 

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