Muth’s Truths: Harry Reid’s Judicial Hypocrisy
By Chuck Muth
So here’s the story: Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) nominated a liberal judge, Elissa Cadish – who once wrote that she didn’t believe there was an individual right to keep and bear arms (by definition, a liberal) – for a judicial vacancy on the federal bench.
However, per Senate tradition, unless both home-state senators agree to allow the nomination to move forward, the nomination doesn’t move forward. And Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) has objected to Cadish’s nomination.
So unless Heller changes his mind, which he says he won’t do, the nomination is dead. Which means Cadish should withdraw. Or Reid should tell her to withdraw. But instead, Reid released a statement on Tuesday doubling down on the Cadish nomination.
“I will not ask Elissa Cadish to withdraw her nomination,” Reid said. “She is supremely qualified and one of the most highly respected jurists in the state of Nevada. She deserves a hearing to defend herself. It is my hope that the process of her nomination is allowed to move forward and she is granted a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
That’s now. But hop into the Wayback Machine with me and let’s dial up November 2003…
At the time, Sen. Reid was the Assistant Senate Minority Leader. And at the time he and the Democrats were filibustering several supremely-qualified, highly-respected nominees to the federal bench who had been nominated by then-President Bush. They included:
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- Miguel Estrada for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
- California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
- Texas Supreme Court Associate Justice Priscilla Owen for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Alabama Attorney General William Pryor for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
- District Judge Charles Pickering Sr. for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
Let me repeat: All of these nominees were supremely qualified and highly respected – just as Sen. Reid maintains Judge Cadish is. In fact, I believe all of them had been cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee and, had their nominations gone to the floor of the Senate for up-or-down votes, all would have been confirmed.
So what did Sen. Reid do?
He mounted a one-man filibuster to block up-or-down votes on those nominees.
“To protest a scheduled 30-hour debate by Republicans on judicial nominees,” Suzanne Struglinski of the Las Vegas Sun reported, “Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., took to the Senate floor at 1:18 p.m. Monday and stopped 8 1/2 hours later, just before 10 p.m. Several of those hours were spent reading chapters of his book about Searchlight.”
“This is a one-man show to indicate that the Senate cannot necessarily be run unless we work together,” said Reid. “Why (am I) taking so much time on the floor? The reason I am speaking today is because I think it is important people understand that the 100 senators here have to get along. The majority has to be aware of the minority.”
Nine years ago Democrats opened this can of worms by blocking supremely qualified, highly respected judicial nominees for purely political and philosophical reasons. Indeed, Miguel Estrada – who received a unanimous ‘well-qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association – was blocked solely because Democrats didn’t want to risk President Bush possibly being in a position to appoint him down the road as the first Latino to the Supreme Court.
Well, now the shoe’s on the other foot and Sen. Reid is getting a taste of his own medicine. Maybe someone should send him a spoonful of sugar.