14 Dec 2006 Patrick Leahy’s Bipartisan Commission
There are currently 51 judicial vacancies, with 24 of these vacancies considered “judicial emergencies” due to a court’s large caseload and extended vacancies. The incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee should be talking about getting these vacancies promptly filled, in a manner consistent with the Constitution. Instead, says Project 21’s Mychal Massie, he’s talking about setting up an extrajudicial “bipartisan commission to help in the selection of judicial nominees.”
The Constitution gives the President of the United States the authority to make judicial appointments. Specifically:
[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
No mention of a “bipartisan commission” in there anywhere.I wonder who would appoint the “bipartisan commission.” The President, perhaps, with the Advice and Consent of the Senate? If they can agree on a Commission, they ought to be able to agree on judges.
I also notice that Senator Leahy is not recommending that a “bipartisan commission” be empowered to determine the hearing schedule of the Judiciary Committee.