Lynn v. Sekulow

Barry, don’t worry about it.  I really don’t think we’re going to see what you label as ‘excessive outreach’ to the Right by President Obama regarding his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

Sure, the President is doing what is politically correct – touching base with members of the Senate – those on the Republican side as well.  He talked about the vacancy with Senator Orrin Hatch and Republican-turned-Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter.

The fact is the President can do all of the courtesy calling he wants – but in the end – everyone knows he will appoint a nominee – an extremely liberal nominee – who will embrace a troubling judicial philosophy.  No one is expecting President Obama to do anything other than what he has promised to do – and that’s the problem.

In announcing the retirement of Justice Souter, the President said he would nominate a replacement who brings “empathy” to the bench – a notion rejected by many conservatives who see that for what it really is – judicial activism.  Obama certainly didn’t waiver from what he has said in the past.  In a floor speech in 2005, then-Senator Obama explained what he saw as the requisite qualities of a Supreme Court Justice, saying that a Justice’s “deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy” come into play in deciding some cases.  “The critical ingredient is supplied,” he said, “by what is in the judge’s heart.”

Sen. Hatch has it correct: judges should stick to interpreting the law, rather than making it.  In an essay to be published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Hatch writes:  “I hope that the debate over President Obama’s judicial nominees will really be a debate over the kind of judge our liberty requires.  The debate should be about whether judges decide cases by using enduring mandates and impersonal rules of law or by using their own moral reflections and personal impressions.”

We now know who the ranking Republican is in the Senate Judiciary Committee – the top Republican who will help set the tone during confirmation hearings for President Obama’s nominee.  Sen. Jeff Sessions has been called a ‘real lawyer’s lawyer’ by colleagues and Judiciary Committee member Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sessions would ensure that Republicans get enough time and assets to review nominees.  “Firm. Fair. Tenacious. He will hold their feet to the fire,” Graham told reporters.

Sen. Sessions himself said he would not shy away from asking the nominee tough and pertinent questions – hopefully about judicial philosophy and the view of the Constitution.  “I don’t mind tough questioning of a nominee, I support that,” he said.

Interesting times ahead.

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