24 Jan 2007 Blacks Say Bush Blows Opportunity to Fight for Judges
President George W. Bush mentioned the importance of filling vacancies in our judicial system with qualified nominees, but he failed to use his State of the Union Address to discuss the problem of liberal obstructionism of these nominees in the Senate. Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie says President Bush should have used the high-profile speech to make his case to both the Senate and the public about the severity of the problem.
“So many of the things President Bush spent ample time covering in his State of the Union Address – the War on Terror, health care reform, quality education for our children and even our energy policy – will ultimately be shaped by our courts. The President failed to use last night’s address to chastise liberal senators who are obstructing the judicial confirmation process and endangering his ability to name judges,” said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie. “These senators understand the powers a federal judge possesses and they want that appointment power for themselves. They are essentially trying to usurp the Constitution and force the President’s hand. President Bush should have directly addressed this problem to them, with the American people watching.”
Throughout the Bush Administration, Senate liberals have engaged in obstructionist tactics that deny fair and timely confirmation hearings and votes to judicial nominees who adhere to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Four of these nominees withdrew their nominations earlier this month, in part due to the fact that the new Senate leadership is the source of much of this obstructionism.
In his speech, President Bush said: “A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives of citizens across our Nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal courts. And we have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty as well – to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.”
Currently, there are 59 judicial vacancies, with 28 of these vacancies considered “judicial emergencies” due to the length of the vacancy and the court’s backlog of cases.
“I personally find it inexcusable that, in a speech of over 5,500 words, the President spent only 102 words – less than two percent of his speech – on one of the singularly most important issues in domestic security for Americans today,” said Project 21’s Massie. “I remain greatly disappointed in his reluctance to forcefully use his authority to fight tirelessly for these nominees.”
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.