The Corner

Filibusters and Philosophy

This morning I had an op-ed on judicial selection in the <a


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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