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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prominent Constitutional Scholar Warns Of "Stealth Nominee"

Bruce Ackerman, a prominent constitutional law professor at Yale Law School, warned against the tactic of "stealth" Supreme Court nominations, where an ideologically driven President who seeks to change the direction of the Supreme Court nominates a relatively undistinguished appeals court judge whose lack of distinction and sparse ideological record conceals a secret agenda:
The job of the Senate is to make it clear to the American people which path the President is taking. Under the Constitution, the president’s judicial nominations are subject to the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’, and it deliberates under rules that give the minority party a special say. Unless 60 of the 100 senators agree to terminate debate, a minority can block a final vote by refusing to end discussion of the nominee on the floor.

The stakes are very high and the ... minority should be careful. In the first instance it should determine whether the president has nominated a ... radical.... Above all else, it must oppose any ‘stealth’ candidate whose record is so undistinguished that his judicial philosophy remains secret. Perhaps after hearing a ... nominee present his arguments before the Senate judiciary committee most Americans will support the case for radical change; perhaps not. But one thing should be clear: the Senate should not give its ‘advice and consent’ to a stealth revolution in constitutional law.

Law students under Ackerman's tutelage at Yale Law School urged law students to send a letter to Senators against the appointment of any nominee whose judicial philosophy was out of the mainstream:
As a Senator, you have the constitutional obligation to stand as a bulwark against the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice whose views represent only a narrow segment of our nation. Your Advise and Consent power means that you can and should ensure that American jurisprudence continues to be characterized by justice and freedom for all, rather than advancing the political agenda of a few.
The year was 2005. Ackerman's admonition in February 2005 against the Senate confirming stealth nominees was directed at the prospective nominees of then President George W. Bush. The law student group was "Law Students Against Alito" and the letter was in opposition to Samuel Alito upon his nomination in October 2005. Ackerman would go on to warn that "the confirmation of Samuel Alito carries a clear and present danger of a constitutional revolution on a very broad front" and that Alito was "a judicial radical."

Do the same standards apply to nominees of President Barack Obama?

Related Posts:
Sotomayor's Damned Statistics
Release The Sotomayor Memos
Sotomayor's Disparate Impact

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  1. I know Bruce Ackerman personally and i can assure you that the same standards do not apply.

    For instance, if you ascribed to his silly "amending the constitution without actually amending it" theory, then the election of Obama with his only slight changes on national security represents a "constitutional moment" solidifying Bush's approach to the war on terror. Wanna bet he ever admits that?

    Not that i ascribe to that theory, but i am just saying that if you apply the theory neutrally, it would seem that it applies.

  2. Anyone interested in the Sotomayor's ideology in the nomination process should use Ackerman's approach, if they feel it will be of assistance.

    However, I find it hard to get through the hyperbole on both sides -- when is someone not a "radical?"

    What is a good example of an historical nomination where no one considered the proposed justice as a radical?

  3. ~ Craig T. Nelson 's Glenn Beck Tax Rant ~

    Lets have a hard cold dose of truth straight up.

    Regular hardworking conservative tax-paying Americans are fed-up. We make up the majority of the population and we have now had enough of the BS.
    The far left lies, slander, nastiness & demonizations. The left-leaning corrupt mainstream media that is off the tracks and in the ditch.
    The Liberal full house that we now have as a government that is driving this nation over a cliff with dangerous unpresidented out-of-control spending, debts, waste and stupidity.

    This list of offenses is nearly endless and utterly frightening...

    Left unchallenged, these people will destroy every freedom we've ever known or fought for in our history. They are now on the pathway to castrating this great nation and changing our culture into an effete european socialist void.
    All for the sake of power and control.

    The truth is this:

    In this world the fastest way to get someones attention is to get into their wallet. Where the rubber meets the road is THE MONEY.
    Elections dont mean squat next to that.

    What Craig T. Nelson has voiced out loud is what all conservatives have been feeling for quite some time now but were too busy being civilized to speak it. Now its finally out...now someone has said it out loud. This is precisely what the Tea Parties were all about. We've had enough.

    Think he's crazy? Yes, you can put one person in jail, or a dozen, or even a hundred. But what if a MILLION people followed his lead? Or 10 MILLION?

    The government has neither the manpower nor the resources to handle that...and you better bet your sweet arse they'll get the picture really really quickly.

    They wont slander & slime anyone then. They wont lie and ram anymore bailouts down anyones throats at the last minute. No more entitlements or freebees. No more earmarks & pork. It all comes to a screaching halt and its all about who's got the jack...jack.

    Then the liberal left can enjoy the conservative one finger salute.

  4. I've linked to your post from Jeremiah Films under Obama's Adgendas