01/31/04 — Snookered?: Hearing involving GOP aide muddies waters in Senate

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Snookered?: Hearing involving GOP aide muddies waters in Senate

The Democrats at the national level aren’t always right, but it seems that they are nearly always shrewder than their Republican rivals.

In a vicious assault on the Constitution, they are continuing to block a Senate vote on some of President Bush’s nominees for judgeships. Yet, they are avoiding widespread public criticism of it, and some guilty senators, such as North Carolina’s John Edwards, are even being glorified on the campaign trail.

The Constitution directs that the president nominate federal judges, and it says that that the judges are to be appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate. This means that the Senate must vote on them, but the Democrats are preventing it from doing so by filibustering. They are getting away with a direct violation of the Constitution.

That is an unhealthy thing for the Republic, and it should be a matter of grave concern for all of us.

It is up to the Republican leadership, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, to act aggressively to break up the logjam. According to the Family Research Council, however, Hatch “seems to be backing down in the face of attacks against one of his loyal senior aides.”

The aide is being criticized for revealing Democratic memos outlining their strategy for opposing qualified judicial nominees, strictly on the basis of ideology.

He didn’t do anything illegal, but Hatch is giving credibility to the accusations against him by making his acquisition of the memos the subject of an investigation. The senator’s purpose presumably is to prove that the aide didn’t violate any laws.

The trouble is, attention will be directed away from what the Democrats are doing, immorally if not illegally, to what the aide did, legally.

No doubt, the Democrats planned it that way. It wouldn’t be the first time leading Republicans have played right into their hands.

Published in Editorials on January 31, 2004 11:30 PM