And it’s pretty informative
Four years ago this past Monday, on May 9, 2001, President Bush held an event in the East Room to introduce to the country and to the Senate his first 11 nominees to the federal bench. He invited leaders from both parties.
The president presented a slate of well-qualified, mainstream nominees. The slate was racially diverse. It included a mix of men and women. And, perhaps most importantly, it included both Republicans and Democrats. People forget this, but two of the original eleven were judges originally nominated by President Clinton: Roger Gregory and Barrington Parker. In the case of Judge Gregory, it was the first time in history that a president had re-nominated a failed circuit-court nominee originally nominated by his predecessor from the other political party. This was unprecedented and highly significant, and it was intended to send a message. It was an olive branch. The president highlighted it in his speech that day, asking the Senate to move beyond the bitterness of the past in the judicial wars and to start afresh in a spirit of cooperation and good faith.
The Democrats took the olive branch the president extended and slapped him in the face with it. They immediately held hearings for, and confirmed, the two Democrats among the nominees and then held up the rest, refusing even to hold hearings for a long time on most of them. They then complained incessantly (and, for the most part, falsely) about not having been adequately consulted by the White House with regard to these nominations. And they executed the play suggested by Professor Tribe, Marcia Greenberger, and others at a Democratic strategy session on how to block Bush judicial nominations — a session held before the president had even taken office — when they scheduled hearings under Senator Schumer to try to legitimize the notion that judicial nominations could be blocked on ideological, rather than competence grounds.
This sent the strongest possible message to those of us in the White House that there was no interest at all in cooperation or good faith from the Democratic side and that they were determined from the start to try to frustrate the new president’s efforts to fill judicial vacancies.
You’ll want to read it all.
And if the GOP allows this to continue, we’re in for a hell of a time.
Because you know, if in 3.5 years a Democrat makes it to the WH, the first thing we’ll hear in the press is how the GOP should “FINALLY try to change the tone,” and how they would be “very unwise and spiteful and small, should they try to obstruct the president rather than serve the country…”