Specter's Strategy for Judicial Nominees
Senator Arlen Specter had to make nice to the extreme right-wing before the Republican Party grudgingly allowed him to assume the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, it seems, he's trying to assure the extremists of his trustworthiness by embarking on a plan to confirm the appointments of the 10 judicial nominees who were filubustered during the president's first term.
Specter's strategy: take advantage of Republican gains in the Senate by reintroducing the nominees, beginning with those he considers least objectionable to Democrats. The first is timber and mining industry lobbyist William Myers III (TalkLeft background here and here). Specter hopes for support from Colorado's newly elected Senator Ken Salazar, who endorsed Myers during the first confirmation battle. Salazar's office says that Salazar will "review the nomination before taking a position."
Next will come William Pryor Jr. (TalkLeft background here, here, and here), who Specter characterizes as an established judicial moderate on the basis of five or six decisions Pryor authored during his recess appointment. That record (produced with knowledge that the eyes of the Senate were upon him) cannot overcome Pryor's disturbing advocacy of extreme positions before his ascension to the bench.
Democrats who fear being branded an obstructionist may give Specter the votes he needs to confirm Myers and Pryor. But Democrats only become relevant to the political process by standing up for their principles. Democratic Senators should stand united in continued opposition to these nominations.
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