Group Calls on Daschle to 'Stop Holding Bush Judges Hostage'

By Lawrence Morahan | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - A conservative organization is running radio ads in South Dakota through the Independence Day weekend, calling on Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to stop blocking confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees.

Last week's ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which said the words "under God" in the nation's Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional, proves the country's "desperate need for judge who respect the law," said Concerned Women for America (CWA), which is running the ads.

The ruling "clearly demonstrates the need for good men and women on the federal bench," CWA President Sandy Rios said in a statement.

So far, Congress has confirmed 57 judges, reported Thomas Jipping, a senior fellow in legal studies with CWA.

By contrast, in the first Congress of the Clinton administration - which is the comparison Democrats last year said should be used - the Senate confirmed 128 judges. No one has been confirmed since May 13 and no appeals court nominees have been confirmed since April 23, Jipping said.

Bush made about 36 percent more appeals court nominations than the average of his three predecessors in his first two years, but so far the Senate has confirmed 67 percent fewer, Jipping said.

"The point isn't just confirmation totals, it's a confirmation rate," Jipping said.

Of the first batch of 11 appeals court nominees the president sent to the Senate in May 2001, eight haven't had a hearing yet.

By contrast, the first 11 appeals court nominations of Bush's three predecessors in office were confirmed in an average of 81 days. None of their first 11 appeals court nominees took more than 202 days, Jipping said.

"So President Bush has waited more than twice as long as any of his predecessors to get his initial nominees confirmed," he said.

But as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling illustrates, the kind of judge confirmed is more important than the number of judges confirmed.

The San Francisco judges "made law," while Bush has promised to appoint judges who will "interpret law," Jipping said.

The issue also is not strictly partisan, Jipping said. Judge Alfred T. Goodwin, who wrote the opinion on the Pledge, is a Republican appointee, he noted.

"But while Republicans do appoint activist judges, that's the only kind of judge the Democrats appoint. That's why it's all the more important for President Bush to be consistent in appointing the right kind of judge," Jipping said.

In the ad, Rios says: "The Founding Fathers of this great country knew that God himself was the very soul of the nation. America knows this too. When shaken to her core on September 11, she knew where to turn and from whom she could draw her strength. But if activist judges have their way, God will no longer be acknowledged - even in the Pledge of Allegiance."

"Your senator's political gamesmanship has resulted in the advancement of a Godless agenda," Rios says. "Call Senator Daschle today and tell him to stop blocking honorable judicial nominees."

Calls made to Senator Daschle's office for comment were not returned.

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