For the last fifteen years, the
Left has been frightened beyond all reason at the prospect of a
judiciary made up of judges who follow the Constitution rather
than acting as an imperial legislature. After all, they
had spent half a century altering the way Americans thought
about their courts. They couldn't have all their progress
undone by right wing fanatics, and chief among the "rights" they
were determined to defend was none other than the unfettered
right to abortion.
When Ted Kennedy took to the floor
of the United States Senate in 1987 to shriek about "Robert
Bork's America", he removed all doubt that the politics of
abortion had a stranglehold on the Democratic Party.
Kennedy wailed that "Robert Bork's America will bring back
whites-only lunch counters" and other such unthinkable reversals
of progress; but the real agenda was clear in the statement that
"Robert Bork's America will bring back the days of back alley
This was relatively easy for the
shrill defenders of all things liberal. Democrats
controlled the United States Senate and had no intentions of
confirming a conservative nominee appointed by Ronald Reagan.
They had already confirmed the brilliant conservative, Antonin
Scalia; they weren't about to do it again. Besides, Bork
was white, had a long paper trail of opinions—as a judge, as a
Yale law professor and as Solicitor General of the United
States—and didn't mind talking about them. He was easy to
trash, and Democrats did it with glee.
After destroying Bork on strictly
ideological grounds, they waited for Reagan's second choice.
When the name of Douglas Ginzberg was put forth, they dug up
dirt on him. Ginzberg had smoked pot when he was a law
professor (a disqualification only for conservatives) and his
nomination was history.
Finally, a moderate from
California, Anthony Kennedy, was nominated and confirmed.
But in 1991, the Dems were once
more faced with the unthinkable—another conservative who might
actually believe that Roe vs. Wade was built on the fertile
imaginations of seven activist Supremes. But this time,
the nominee was black. How could they ruin this man and
still maintain their lock on the black vote? With the help
of frantic feminists, they tried to destroy this good and decent
man with trumped up charges of sexual harassment.
It didn't work. Clarence
Thomas was confirmed, and in his words, "At 41, the perfect
revenge is a lifetime appointment."
Now comes a highly-qualified
Hispanic nominee to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia. Actually, Miguel Estrada's
nomination was put forth by President Bush in May 2001.
When Democrats controlled the Senate, they simply buried the
nomination. Now that they no longer set the agenda, they
intend to filibuster it.
And it all boils down to abortion.
Perceived as pro-life, Estrada
presents a sticky problem for Senate Democrats. They can't
displease their radical, pro-abortion supporters, yet they are
fearful of offending the largest minority in the country—much of
which holds traditional moral values.
What to do? When in doubt,
filibuster. The usual suspects—Kennedy, Leahy, Daschle,
Boxer, Feinstein—will do the up-front dirty work. Senator
John Breaux has already courageously stated that he will support
the nomination, not the filibuster. His Louisiana
colleague, Mary Landreu, has broken her own campaign promise to
the Hispanic community in her state and caved in to the dictates
of the radicals at NOW.
The Senators to watch are the ones
who are looking for political cover. My own Senator Ben
Nelson, who has always claimed to be pro-life, has said he
hasn't decided whether to support the filibuster. I'll be
giving him a call to ask him not to. I urge you to
do the same.