Judicial Nominations: President, Senate Must Reach Consensus on Potential Nominees

The Washington Post wrote another editorial concerning judicial nominations.

The reasoning of the editorial board of the Post is regardless how a nomination is decided, once a name is submitted, the process should go forward (presumably towards confirming the nominee).

I reject this reasoning. If the Presidential nominee selection process is flawed, yet the President still submits a nominee to the Senate, then the nomination process in the Senate should not start at all.

The people of the United States must always remember that judges have lifetime terms. Thus, the Senate has an obligation to consider carefully every judicial nomination. This includes the decision to refuse to consider Presidential judicial nominees.

The Post’s editorial summarized the circumstances surrounding President Bush’s Fourth Circuit nominees for Virginia and Maryland.


Senators John Warner (R) and Jim Webb (D) evaluated nominees and presented President Bush with five people that they would both support for nomination to the Fourth Circuit (for the Virginia seat). President Bush nominated Richmond lawyer E. Duncan Getchell Jr., who was not on their list. This decision did not please the Senators from Virginia. [Note: Mr. Getchell was on the list of Senators John Warner (R) and former Senator George Allen (R). According to the Virginian Pilot, since Allen lost to Webb, Getchell’s name was removed from the list.]

The Post’s editorial board wisely stated that the Senate would not give the nominees a confirmation hearing.


I wrote about the nomination of Rod Rosenstein in this post. In summary, President Bush nominated Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for Maryland, for a judicial post on the Fourth Circuit, despite the objections of Maryland’s Senators.

For a smooth judicial nomination process consensus between the President and the Senate must occur before the President submits a nominee to the Senate.

Moreover, I do not consider it a priority to fill the five vacancies. Ten of fifteen seats (66%) are filled, balanced between Democratic and Republican appointees.

There is no need to upset the balance, especially since President Bush is entering his final year in office.


One thought on “Judicial Nominations: President, Senate Must Reach Consensus on Potential Nominees

  1. Editorial
    Senators, start new beginning now
    The Baltimore Examiner Newspaper
    2008-06-13 07:00:00.0
    Current rank: # 241 of 8,165

    Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin right now have power to shape the future of our nation. They can set the new direction and attitude. They can prove to America that Democratic cries for a new beginning are not just hollow party rhetoric.

    And while they are at it, they can serve justice, relieve the beleaguered U.S. 4th District

    Court of Appeals and put an excellent choice for judge on the bench.

    They readily admit Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein would be a good judge. In fact, they say the main reason they are blocking his nomination is he does such a great job here in Maryland. The other reasons they give are patently specious.

    Politics, they say, has nothing to do with keeping off the most shorthanded appeals court in the nation this Republican who clerked for Reagan Supreme Court nominee Judge Douglas Ginsburg before being hired and promoted by the Clinton Justice Department. IQ is not the issue. He graduated summa cum laude from Wharton, cum laude from Harvard and was a Law Review editor.

    Now that Virginia’s senators joined hands across party lines to expedite one appointment, four vacant seats remain, still more than twice as many as any other circuit court of appeals. The partisan bickering over filling this influential bench has denied citizens of five states our full share of justice through the terms of three presidents and surely will into a fourth.

    That is an outrage. If Mikulski and Cardin are playing mere politics with Maryland’s unofficial seat, they betray the people of our state. If they are waiting out the presidential election in hopes of inflicting an ideologue on the court and replacing Rosenstein with one as U.S. attorney, they should turn Democrats’ eight years of allegations against the Bush administration upon themselves.

    For one thing, the 2008 election is a long way from decided. For another, even if their party’s nominee wins, he has called for a new beginning. Barack Obama asks all Americans “to believe not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

    Really? How can anybody believe in his or our ability to effect change if two of the smartest, most effective members of the Senate refuse to change?

    Senators, we want change today, not seven months from now. The first thing we want you to change is putting party politics before the greater good of the people. Stop it.

    Show the way. You still have time. The Senate filled the last seat only 65 days after President Bush’s nomination.

    Use Rosenstein’s appointment to light a beacon on Capitol Hill that those who call for change can change themselves.



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