Jewish World Review June 9, 1999 /25 Sivan 5759
Call a moratorium on Clinton judges
(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
HERE'S A DELICIOUS IRONY: Bill Clinton, who 6 months ago was impeached for
lying under oath and obstruction of justice, could end up appointing more
judges than any of his predecessors.
To date, Clinton has put 306 of his soul mates on the bench, close to
Reagan's record of 385. By the end of his second term, the perjurer in chief
could have appointed 40 percent of the entire federal judiciary.
But in the twilight of his tenure, the confirmation process has slowed. The
usually compliant Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
hasn't held a confirmation hearing this year -- which has set the
establishment to whining about the unfairness of it all.
Clinton's judicial picks get high marks for diversity, we're told. His
choices for the Supreme Court are praised as middle-of-the-roaders.
This president's judicial nominations are diverse where it matters least --
gender and skin color. Intellectually, they reflect the variety of Stalinsts
at a party congress.
Take Claudia Wilken, one of Clinton's first appointments, who was placed on
the U.S. District Court for Northern California in 1993. In 1997, Wilken
invalidated California's popularly enacted term-limitation amendment.
Casting about for a rationale, Wilken determined term limits violate the
14th Amendment because voters who prefer politicians who've been in office
for eternity can't vote for their hacks of choice.
How her opinion could be reconciled with the 22nd Amendment to the
Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms in office, Wilken didn't say.
The Supreme Court overturned the decision.
Fast forward to 1998, when Wilken held that San Francisco was perfectly
within its rights in forcing companies that do business with the city to
provide health insurance for domestic partners.
The ordinance is constitutional because it "effectuates a legitimate local
public interest to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation," Wilken insisted in an opinion that read like a manifesto.
Another of Clinton's Oliver Wendells, William Fletcher, went on the federal
appeals court despite a total lack of courtroom experience. Who needs
experience when they have theories? A former law professor, Fletcher
believes judges may declare legislatures "chronically in default" and assume
their functions. He says out loud what most Clinton appointees believe in
Other Clinton judges have: enjoined the enforcement of a state ban on
partial-birth abortions, rejected a student-initiated graduation prayer,
forced an Ohio municipality to remove a cross from its city seal and voted
to overturn a federal law restricting the broadcast of obscene material to
the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
But doubtless, Clinton's crowning achievement was the nomination of
Frederica Massiah-Jackson to the district court. A state judge from
Philadelphia, Massiah-Jackson was forced to withdraw when Republican
senators (in a rare show of determination) said, "No way in hell!"
Massiah-Jackson's record was described by Philadelphia's Democratic
district attorney as "replete with instances of leniency toward criminals,
an adversarial attitude toward police and a hostile attitude toward
Her acquittal rate was 60 percent higher than the average for Philadelphia
judges. She once swore at a prosecutor in her courtroom and on another
occasion declared that both capital punishment and three-strikes laws are
racist and unconstitutional.
Given her brilliance, it's a wonder that the president didn't nominate
Massiah-Jackson for the Supreme Court. Instead, he chose those notorious
moderates Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer, who have consistently
taken an activist approach on everything from religion in the public sphere
and term limitation to racial preferences.
Republicans, who pay lip service to judicial restraint, have been far too
obliging to this president. As Tom Jipping of the Free Congress Foundation
notes, when Democrats controlled the Senate and Republicans the White House
from 1987 to 1992, Congress denied hearings to an average of 7.3 GOP
judicial nominees a year. When the roles were reversed (1995 to 1998), on
average Republicans blocked hearings for only 4.3 nominees each year.
Given this president's demonstrated contempt for our system of justice, it
would be fitting to call a moratorium on any further Clinton judicial
appointments. It would also be a blow for representative
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©1999, Creators Syndicate