He was wrong

Reading Ralph Reed's jeremiad to the wayward GOP in the run-up to the Sotomayor confirmation vote, I decided to state something that I think has borne saying since her nomination. Reed says this (via Politico):
Campaigning for president, Barack Obama promised he would appoint judges who decide the “hard” cases based on personal empathy and political leanings. This formulation led him to be one of only 22 members of the U.S. Senate in 2005 to vote against the nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice, a vote that put him to the left of the likes of Pat Leahy and Russ Feingold. True to that Obama mold, Judge Sotomayor is a judicial activist and Senators who care about the U.S. Constitution should oppose her nomination.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. "Judicial activist." *snore*

However, Reed does make a valid point. Obama opposed the nomination of the obviously-qualified John Roberts on political/ideological grounds. Those of us who prefer a more liberal SCOTUS weren't thrilled by the Roberts nomination, and I'm sure a great many were glad to have had Obama vote the way he did. Presumably, many of those same people will be all in a lather about how many GOP senators vote against Sotomayor on remarkably similar grounds.

The thing is, Obama was wrong to have voted the way he did. Elections have consequences, it turns out, and a major one (in fact, in my opinion, perhaps the most significant one) is the right to appoint members of the federal judiciary. Roberts was well-qualified, as is Sonia Sotomayor. I didn't support the former, and I support the latter. But the way to keep people you don't like off the Court is to elect presidents who share your views. Having lost the election, Democrats were (again, in my opinion) obligated to vote on Roberts based upon his qualifications (which were ample) and to confirm him, no matter how much they may have disliked his politics. (That the GOP is doing the same crap they decried back in the day does nothing to change the merits of the argument, one way or the other.)

On a side note, how hilarious is it that Ralph Reed is trying to rebuild his influence? (Yes, that Ralph Reed.) And that he doesn't seem to know what a Rorschach test is?

Update: She was, as expected, confirmed. Good.


  1. sorry Dan, but it is advise and consent, not rubber and stamp. I have zero problem with Republicans not consenting. You say elections have consequences, but so do elections for the Senate. Now we can decry the process becoming overly political, from the right or left, but since most Senators know they simply can not vote no on every nomination (especially lower courts) without the judicial system going into gridlock, I am nowhere near concerned as you seem to be as to the consequences of negative votes for the highest court.


  2. Well, fair point as far as it goes with regard to votes on Senators. However, I simply disagree that the role of the Senate is to ensure an ideological bend or balance on the SCOTUS. Barring some kind of Harriet Miers-level incompetent being nominated (and boy, what a disaster that was), I don't think Senators should vote against nominees because of political leaning.

  3. Ralph Reed? Is this the same Ralph Reed who while on a flight from Tampa to DC, kept staring at my friend and then followed him to the men's room, sliding up beside him? Naa that cant be good ol' Ralphie.