Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Subverting the Federal Justice System

The independence of the Judicial Branch is no longer. Today, the White House struck a deal with Senate Democrats to allow Senate confirmation votes to occur for 25 "non-controversial" judicial appointments if President Bush promises not to use his constitutional recess appointment power. President Bush has used this power to appoint Charles Pickering and William Pryor to the US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Article II, section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution states The President "...shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments."

This would indicate the Senate vote on Presidential appointments for these offices. The Democrats have stalled appointments in committee, denying the Senate an opportunity to vote by simple majority (51 Votes) - while filibustering to force a cloture vote, which requires a super majority (60 Votes) to pass. The Constitution has been very clear about which items require a super majority - this is not one of them. The democrats do this only because the Republicans have a majority in the Senate. Rather than lobby Republican Senators to agree with their point of view, they use an obscure point of Senate procedure to violate the Constitution.

What Democrats call a "flagrant abuse of Presidential power" is his use of Article II, section 2, clause 3 - "The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session."

The Executive and the Legislative branches of government are clearly in battle to control the slant of the Judicial. While this is nothing new, subverting the Constitution to gain political control of the Federal Judiciary is a threat to American Freedom.


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