Thursday, July 27, 2006

Whence Cometh The Judges?

Bob Novak and Hugh Hewitt do make for a strange set of bedfellows, but they unwittingly tag together today on the inexplicable lassitude of Senate Republicans on the matter of getting the President's appellate court nominees voted upon (and, one would think, confirmed). Novak takes it one step further by castigating the White House for being equally listless in filling the still-numerous vacancies on the federal appellate bench.

Given how big an issue the judiciary has been for the GOP in the last two election cycles, one would think they'd recognize the political necessity of getting judges confirmed. It was, after all, one of the raisons d'etere for their four-seat Senate pickup in 2004.

The only explanation of which I can conceive is that this is the long-term hangover from the McCain Mutiny. It wasn't enough to stop the President's two SCOTUS appointments, which were too high-profile for Dems to filibuster without risking political suicide, but it has proven very effective in deterring GOPers on appellate-level appointments.

As I asked fourteen months ago, so I have to ask now, because you can be sure a lot of GOP base supporters will be asking it as well: If we can't get constitutionalist judges confirmed, voted upon, or even nominated despite our party being in ostensible control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, then what good is that control?

Double-H is right that it is the war that remains the trump card for the preservation of the Republican majorities. Without it, I think you could kiss them both goodbye.

UPDATE: Sean Rushton joins the echo chamber.