Time to Confirm 'Constitutionalist' Judges, Conservatives Warn

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - With time running out and conservative activists fuming, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday is expected to discuss at least four of the five federal appeals court candidates recently renominated by President Bush.

Conservatives want those nominations to be sent to the full Senate without further delay.

The Coalition for a Fair Judiciary says the Senate must take an up-or-down vote on Terrence Boyle and William Haynes (nominated to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.), William Myers and Norman Randy Smith (9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco) and Michael Wallace (5th Circuit in New Orleans).

Most of the nominees have been waiting for two or three years for a "yes" or a "no" from the full Senate.

"The obstruction of the president's judicial nominations is wholly without merit," said Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

"The extremists in the Senate are playing with fire. The electorate wholeheartedly rejected their obstruction in 2002 and 2004 and woe be to those who continue down this foolhardy pathway. The clock is ticking."

The coalition says it is time to put the brakes on "activist judges" (such as Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit) who are "working overtime to thwart the war effort" by stripping the nation of its ability to catch terrorists.

Judge Taylor, a Jimmy Carter appointee, recently declared President Bush's terrorist surveillance program unconstitutional.

"When judges are more concerned about making sure there are enough Laz-y-boy recliners at Gitmo instead of protecting us from people who want to kill us, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong," the coalition's Daly said.

"This week, we observed the fifth anniversary of 9/11. The very group of people responsible for the planning of that terrorist act [Guantanamo Bay detainees] are now winding their way through federal courts to freedom at the hands of activist judges," Daly warned.

"The constitutionalist nominees that the president has presented for consideration cannot be confirmed fast enough. The Senate will continue to fiddle at our nation's peril."

The Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, comprised of more than 300 grassroots organizations, believes that judges who create law rather than apply it have had a detrimental impact on American society and commerce.

'Tough' road for nominees

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News Sunday on Sept. 3 that he thinks the path to confirmation for the five nominees will be "tough," but that his committee would "move ahead" with the re-nominations.

Specter admitted that Michael Wallace - declared "not qualified" by the American Bar Association (bunch of liberals, conservatives note) -- "may have a steep climb" to confirmation, but he also noted that the ABA does not have a say in the confirmation process, which is entirely up to the Senate.

Specter also agreed that Judge Terrence Boyle "does have big problems" because of conflict-of-interest allegations. (Boyle ruled in several cases involving companies in which his family held stock; he's called it an oversight; his conservative defenders note that the ABA rated Boyle as qualified, despite the "recusal" issues.)

In his interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Specter said he thinks Boyle should have an up-or-down vote in the full Senate. "

Chances are, candidly, Chris, he'll be filibustered, but so far as I'm concerned, as chairman, I'm going to move them right along one at a time and let the full Senate make its judgment."

Some conservatives say Specter is helping Senate obstructionists by failing to move anything along.

See Earlier Story:
Act on Judicial Nominees Now, Pro-Family Group Tells Frist (Sept. 6, 2006)

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