It seems that the folks over at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are easily outraged. While exactly half of the Senate’s Democratic caucus (including such “blue state” liberals as Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and Connecticut’s Christopher Dodd) voted to confirm John Roberts as Chief Justice, the Task Force calls his “confirmation ‘beyond disappointing — outrageous’”
In a release filled with more vitriol than sense, Eleanor D. Acheson, NGLTF’s Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs faulted the Senate for failing to “stand up to the administration and effectively relinquished its constitutional ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities.” It seems she believes that “advice and consent” means delay and obstruct as she subsequently takes the Senate to task for “not holding Roberts’ nomination until he fully answered all the questions asked.” I wonder if she’s also upset that the Senate confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsburg (with a higher percentage of Republicans supporting that one-time ACLU activist) even though she had failed to fully answer all the questions asked. Or maybe it’s just that she interprets the Senate’s “advise and consent” role differently when a Republican is in the White House.
In the penultimate paragraph of her statement, she seems to be asking the president to follow his father’s lead and appoint another justice in the mold of Clarence Thomas. She demands that “The next nominee must be a person whose life experience includes some real exposure to and understanding of the disadvantaged and marginalized in our society and of the diversity of our population in myriad respects.”
A black man born in the segregated South, the future justice grew up in a small town without paved roads or sewers. His father abandoned the family when he was two. That sounds pretty disadvantaged and marginalized. And he’s been aware of the diversity of our population since he was very young, living with his grandmother who was an “ardent Democrat” and attending a school run by white nuns.
Although I agree that another Justice like Thomas would be an asset to the court, I disagree with the NGLTF about John Roberts’ confirmation. The president respected the Constitution’s advice and consent clause (for such appointments) by consulting with Senators before he announced his pick and providing enough information for the Senators to make an informed evaluation of the nominee. It speaks well of those twenty-two Senate Democrats who were not swayed by the attacks of left-wing interest groups on Roberts. These men and women well fulfilled their constitutional responsibility, judging Roberts on his accomplishments and judicial temperament.
Once again, NGLTF has overboard in making its point. Even when I agree with them, their statements put me off. The group seems more interested in attacking their adversaries, religious as well as political, than in engaging them with thoughtful criticism and rational argument.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE–Just like NGLTF, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is no slouch when it comes to name-calling. Its press release on John Robert’s confirmation begins with a statement from organization president, Joe Solmonese, saying the new Chief Justice has been given the “a stamp of approval by the extreme right-wing.” Well, Joe, he’s also been given the stamp of approval of the entire Republican caucus in the Senate, half the Democratic caucus, including such liberals as Washington State’s Patty Murray and Wisconsin’s Feingold.