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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Here We Go Again

Last night the White House announced that six controversial Court s of Appeals nominees (William J. Haynes II, William G. Myers III, Terrence W. Boyle, Peter D. Keisler, Norman Randy Smith, and Michael B. Wallace)-- nominees recently (and repeatedly) sent back to the president by the Senate -- have been renominated, proving that the president’s promises of bipartisanship are a lot of hot air.

Alliance for Justice’s Nan Aron had this to say: “Answering the call of right wing activists to pick fights over judges, President Bush has renominated some of his most controversial nominees. Though the elections are over, the Bush administration is still playing politics with our nation’s courts in an attempt to mollify its base.”

And we weren’t the only ones disappointed by President Bush’s unwillingness to reach across the aisle. According to the AP, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) declared: “Democrats have asked the president to be bipartisan, but this is a clear slap in the face at our request…. For the sake of the country, we hope that this is an aberration because the president feels he must placate his hard-right base, rather than an indication of things to come.”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) issued this statement:

Barely a week after the President promised to change course by working in a bipartisan and cooperative way with Congress, it is disappointing that he has decided to ‘stay the course’ on judicial nominees by renominating a slate of his most controversial past choices. These are nominees who failed to win confirmation under a Republican-controlled Senate and they were returned to the President. With these renominations, the President is choosing partisanship over progress and division over unity, at the expense of a fair and independent judiciary. This is exactly the kind of political game-playing that prompted Americans to demand change and a new direction in Washington.
We can't say we're surprised by the president's unwillingness to embrace compromise and consensus, but like it or not, Bush is going to have to work with a Democratically-controlled Congress for the next two years. He can either stop playing games and work to fill the vacancies on our courts with qualified, moderate judges, or he can compromise the prestige and efficacy of our courts in a gambit to satisfy his right-wing base. Considering that on Election Day the public made it perfectly clear how tired they were of the right's tread-worn politics of division, we hope the president will change his course.

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