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.