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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Friday, February 14, 2003

Free Miguel!

Jay Caruso is arm-wrestling with various commentators who think that the Dems under Leahy were not obstructionist with Bush nominees.

Oh, if I had time and knowledge, I would rally up some cool tables proving all sorts of things. Hey, next time!

Meanwhile, here is a DOJ website which links to this cool chart showing judges confirmed in the first two years of Presidents going back to Carter. As a companion, here are the nominees returned. You will need to remind yourself that Bush I and Bush II were the only two facing a Senate controlled by the opposite party in their first two years.

Now, here is an American Prospect article describing the Democrat strategy of delay. A bit dated, but the wisdom is timeless.

Finally, a Federalist Society site with many links.

From all this, I will extract just a few numbers:

Approval Rate for Nominees

Carter : 100% Circuit / 91% District
Reagan: 95% / 100%
Bush I: 96% / 94%
Clinton: 86% / 91%

Bush II: 53% / 84%

Does anything stand out in that table?

Now, we don't have Clinton for 1999-2000, but that is sort of a faux comparison, since we expect a late term stall by the other party while hoping for a change in control. So we would like to see Clinton 1997-1998, from the Leahy table. However, this gives us the number confirmed, but not total nominees. Bother. Info on vacancies might also be useful, although possibly confusing - if vacancies occur late in the Congressional term, the President may not have time to nominate replacements.

Well, I am not convinced that the Dems were as good as we are being told. Slug it out, gents!

UPDATE: Despite his deplorable lack of ethnic sensitivity, Michael Kinsley seems to make a good point about judges declining to disclose their casual, unstudied views. Is there a devastating rebuttal out there?

My casual attempt would be to take this snippet from Estrada's testimony and say, look - if a nominee expresses his/her non-fully informed opinion, people will howl if he later takes in more evidence and delivers a "surprise" ruling.

OK, snippet from Josh Marshall; scroll down the comments here for a rebuttal to Marshall's post. Thank the Hammer.

SEN. FEINSTEIN: Do you believe that Roe was correctly decided?

MR. ESTRADA: I have -- my view of the judicial function, Senator Feinstein, does not allow me to answer that question. I have a personal view on the subject of -- of abortion, as I think you know. And -- but I have not done what I think the judicial function would require me to do in order to ascertain whether the court got it right as an original matter. I haven't listened to parties. I haven't come to an actual case of controversy with an open mind. I haven't gone back and run down everything that they have cited. And the reason I haven't done any of those things is that I view our system of law as one in which both me as an advocate, and possibly if I am confirmed as a judge, have a job of building on the wall that is already there and not to call it into question. I have had no particular reason to go back and look at whether it was right or wrong as a matter of law, as I would if I were a judge that was hearing the case for the first time. It is there. It is the law as it has subsequently refined by the Casey case, and I will follow it (italics added).

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