Judiciary-selling GOP senators deserve to be thrown out

By Thomas L. Jipping
web posted June 5, 2000

A few years ago, a Miami lawyer named Charles Stack demanded appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals. You see, he had raised $11 million for Bill Clinton's re-election campaign and the Democratic Party and thought he deserved the spot. As unseemly as that was, it would not have kept him off the bench, not with the Republicans controlling the Senate. He is not a judge today only because he was completely and totally unqualified for the job and proved it in his public hearing.

Today it is a seat on the Federal Election Commission that is for sale.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott wants to install law professor Bradley Smith who opposes campaign contribution and spending limits. But the cost of Mr. Smith going to Washington is getting higher all the time. It's one thing to cave into the demands of the opposition, but Mr. Lott has also railroaded his own Republican Senators.

Back in February, Mr. Lott stabbed 19 of his Republican colleagues in the back by rejecting their effort to block Clinton judicial nominees. Led by Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, this group had promised to do so should Mr. Clinton try to improperly appoint people to various posts without Senate consent. With all Mr. Clinton has done with impunity, most Americans would applaud holding him accountable for something. But Mr. Clinton knew that Mr. Lott was for sale and he knew the price. The day after Mr. Clinton nominated Professor Smith to the FEC, Mr. Lott announced he was rejecting the Inhofe effort.

What a coup - if I worked for Mr. Clinton, I would daily chuckle and wonder how it could be this easy. With the Republican insurgency beaten back, Lott was again up for bids to secure Smith's confirmation. I know that the eBay auction site has a category for political memorabilia, but I did not know that politicians themselves were in on it. The bids went up and up and up.

Lott offered more and more. First, it was six judges, then 11 judges, and finally 16 judges. Not only that, but he sweetened the deal with about 50 other appointees to various positions throughout the executive branch.

This deal is hardly the first one that the Republican Senate leadership has done. Senator Orrin Hatch, of course, is a co-conspirator as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He keeps pumping nominees out of his committee so Lott has the maximum number of chips to play with. The bunch that Lott traded includes Mary McLaughlin, who received an award from the ACLU for her pro-abortion activism; and Timothy Dyk, opposed by nearly 200 grassroots organizations for his work defending open access to television porn. No matter. If Lott cares nothing for the efforts of his fellow Republican Senators, he certainly won't listen to his grassroots political base .

This is how Republicans are selling our freedom down the river. No sane person could possibly think that a single term-limited appointment to a bureaucratic agency is worth 16 life-time appointments to the federal bench.

And this step will further solidify Clinton's takeover of the courts, stacking it with more activists willing to morph whatever the people do into whatever the judges want. These so-called Republican leaders simply do not believe in the principles that created America and her Constitution, the principles necessary to preserve our freedom.

In 1993, Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole appeared on a television program and was asked by a caller why the GOP was not stopping Clinton's judicial appointments. He said: "Give us a majority and if we don't produce, you should thrown us out." The time has come to throw them out.

Tom Jipping is the director of the Center for Law and Democracy at the Free Congress Foundation.

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