Saturday, April 23, 2005

Lay Off Our Judges

Ted Olson former Solicitor General of the United States has this biting, but learned commentary on our independent judiciary:

....We might start by getting a firm grip on the reality that our independent judiciary is the most respected branch of our government, and the envy of the world.....

...This is not to say that some judges don't render bad decisions. Arrogant and misguided jurists exist, just as such qualities may be found in the rest of the population, and our citizens and elected representatives are fully justified in speaking out in forceful disagreement with judges who substitute their personal values or private social instincts for sound jurisprudential principles. But the remedies for these aberrations consist of reasoned, even sharp, criticism, appeals to higher courts, and selection of candidates for judicial positions that respect limits on the roles of judges....

...No discussion of the judiciary should close without reference to the shambles that the Senate confirmation process has become. It does no good to speculate about how or when the disintegration began, which political interest has been the most culpable, or the point at which the appointment of judges became completely dysfunctional. That sort of debate is both endless and futile. The only hope for an end to the downward spiral is for the combatants to lay down their arms; stop using judicial appointments to excite special-interest constituencies and political fund-raising; move forward with votes on qualified, responsible and respected nominees so that those who have the support of a majority of the Senate can be confirmed, as contemplated by the Constitution; and remove the rancor and gamesmanship from the judicial selection process.

We expect dignity, wisdom, decency, civility, integrity and restraint from our judges. It is time to exercise those same characteristics in our dealings with, and commentary on, those same judges--from their appointment and confirmation, to their decision-making once they take office.

Hopefully, we will have some votes soon on the appeals court judges (Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown) voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committe last week.

I wonder if North Carolina judge Terrence W. Boyle, a former aide to retired Senator Jesse Helms, will ever get a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

Come on Senators ...... vote yea or nay!

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