In a New York Times op-ed, Sen. Orrin Hatch says it’s the Senate Democrats (including a former senator named Barack Obama), not Republicans, who are most responsible for politicizing the Supreme Court nomination process.
Having served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for nearly four decades, I have witnessed firsthand the deterioration of the confirmation process. Neither party has clean hands on this front.
The bitterness began when liberal senators attempted to savage the reputation of Judge Robert Bork in a campaign of character assassination led by Biden, who then was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. So unprecedented was this vicious effort to sully the nominee’s good name that the Democratic strategy generated its own verb: to bork.
Just a few years later, hostilities reached new heights when Democrats unapologetically attempted to bork Clarence Thomas’ nomination. During George W. Bush’s presidency, Senate Democrats led filibusters that were unprecedented in seeking to block federal court nominees supported by a majority of senators.
Add to this growing list of grievances the Democrats’ “nuclear” demolition of the judicial filibuster and Obama’s subsequent efforts to pack the courts — the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in particular — with judges committed to rubber-stamping his progressive agenda.
Given this record, Democrats have no credibility in lecturing Republicans on how to conduct the current confirmation process. Their recent actions only validate the rationale for waiting. From personal attacks on Republican committee chairmen to coordinated disruptions by professional activists, liberal pressure tactics belie any commitment to keeping politics out of the confirmation process.