Originally Published: June 1, 2005 5 a.m.
The so-called "compromise" by 14 Senate "moderates" over the nomination of judges to the federal bench was a victory for an institution and a defeat for the Constitution.
It also ignored the results of the last election and revealed, once again, that at least some Republicans apparently suffer from power attachment disorder ‹ an inability to handle the responsibilities that come from being in the majority.
In spite of all the feel-good spirit, handshaking and smiles at the announcement of the agreement (and why do you think Minority Leader Harry Reid was smiling and praising the agreement?), the gang of 14 senators undermined a president's right to nominate judges of his judicial philosophy and have them voted up or down.
Senators John Warner, Virginia Republican, and Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, reportedly had examined jots and tittles in the Constitution to see what the founders meant by "advice" in the "advice and consent" clause. Like proof-texting the Bible, they apparently discovered there are ways to get around anything if one spends enough time rationalizing and looking for excuses.
The agreement is without substantive meaning. Some of the very judges the Democrats deemed "extremist" will win confirmation while others will not. The provision to support a judicial filibuster only under "extraordinary circumstances" is a phrase left to the interpretation of each senator.
Republicans increased their majorities in the House and Senate and President Bush won re-election largely because most voters perceived them as having principles and wanting to restrain the moral and social mudslide that judges have assisted in bringing forth on this nation. Now, by refusing to pull the majority trigger, Republican "moderates" effectively say only what they think matters and not what the voters decide.