Skip to content

Deconstituting America, Part III

26 May 2009

Conservatives, of course, should oppose – and filibuster, if necessary – the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the SCOTUS.  As a Circuit Court judge, her decisions and judicial reasoning have been repudiated 4 out of 5 times on appeal to the Supreme Court; she is openly on record as viewing the judicial branch (especially the appellate courts) as policymaking bodies; and she self-avowedly conflates personal feelings of empathy with actual jurisprudence to ensure socially desirable outcomes rather than jealously preserving the legislative branch’s prerogatives in that arena.  The result of her ascension to the Court will be, like other Obamanisms to date, a long-term disaster to the American experiment in self-determination, liberty, and constitutional restraints on federal power.


Those familiar with George Will’s op-ed style and political affinities will undoubtedly recall that his favorite Senator was the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  In general, anyone in whom Will puts his knowledgeable trust gets the benefit of the doubt from qb.  But Moynihan, qb learned today, was not immune to anticonstitutional behavior, if one of today’s tidbits is accurate.  This, from National Review Online’s Ed Whelan:

But, as I’ve explained before, when President Bush nominated Sotomayor to the district court in 1991, the New York senators, Moynihan and D’Amato, had forced on the White House a deal that enabled the senator not of the president’s party to name one of every four district-court nominees in New York.  Sotomayor was Moynihan’s pick.  I am reliably informed that Bush 41’s White House nonetheless resisted nominating her because she was so liberal and did so in the end only as part of a package to move along other nominees whom Moynihan was holding up.

So, conspiring with the disgraced Alfonse D’Amato, Moynihan used the “advise and consent” power of the Senate to blackmail Bush 41 into delegating powers to him that are not the President’s to delegate.  Only the President has the power to nominate district-court nominees.  By acceding to the blackmail, Bush 41 – coerced, as a practical matter, by Moynihan and D’Amato – violated the Constitution’s separation of powers.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 May 2009 8:28 am


    An Irish pol and an Italian pol from New York work to get their gal nominated by the Brahmin Pol Bush I. What you call blackmail was likely a political quid pro quo. Stop getting your constitutional take from the Cato Institute, NR online, and Rush. These folk are adept at twisting reality and the record. If they had their way, there would be no interstate highway system, Jim Crow would still be a reality, and Calvin Coolidge’s picture would be on a $3 bill.

    Unless there’s a skeleton in her closet, base Republicans will alienate Latinos if they oppose this nomination–as they will using the tarbrush of liberal activism. The GOP is fast painting itself into a minority corner from which it will take a generation to recover. It may–sigh–even imitate the Whigs.


  2. 27 May 2009 6:08 pm

    My constitutional take, good sir, is my own. (I don’t accuse you of getting your talking pionts from anyone else; it would be well if you returned the courtesy.)

    Nobody is twisting reality here; we have the transcripts, the judge’s opinions (such as they are), the SCOTUS reversals and rebukes, and the recordings of speeches. If there is more evidence that needs to be considered, the nominee will surely be wise to bring it forth; but at this point, the burden of proof that she can judge dispassionately to the greatest possible degree lies directly with her, for she has made it plain that she sees nothing wrong with Lady Justice keeping demographic score. Of course she will be confirmed. But she, and the president, must be bloodied – nobly, on philosophical and constitutional grounds, of course, not on gratuitous, contrived, personal ones (cf. Clarence Thomas).

    Republicans of stout principle cannot do any worse with Latinos than we are already doing; as history shows, pandering gets us precisely nowhere with minority voting blocs. Rolling over is of no practical use or effect. Just as Jews and African Americans have long been statistically in the tank for Democrats, the great mass of Latinos appears to believe – wrongly, and tragically – that liberalism will eventually deliver on its promises. Now THAT is what one could call truly blind faith.

    Quid pro quo does not just materialize. Someone – the senators, in this case – begins with the upper hand and forces the action.


  3. 28 May 2009 5:30 am


    Easy big fellow. Apologies for my tongue in cheek remark. Bush I–the most powerful man on the planet at the time–hardly had his strings pulled by a vast liberal Irish-Italian conspiracy.

    Actual justice, I would hope, is more nuanced than you suppose. Your hermeneutic for reading the constitution seems to me to be a bit literalistic.

    Glad you enjoyed your Greek salad. It might, just might, help soften your “stout principles.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: