Hard on the heels of a statement by New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who told the American Constitution Society that  "the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush 'except in extraordinary circumstances,'" we find that Chief Justice Roberts may be suffering from epileptic-like brain seizures which may be controlled by medication.

While it is too soon to comment on Justice Roberts' medical condition and his continued participation in Supreme Court decisions, it is particularly troublesome that Chuck Schumer has decided, once again,  to pervert the "Advice and Consent" function of the Senate to something akin to providing a small minority of ideologues with the power to subvert the will of another branch of government on a "take it or leave it" basis.

According to published reports, Schumer went on to say: "We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito."

Which leads to another constitutional crisis regarding the function of the Senate in the Supreme Court confirmation process.

Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution states:

The President shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

It was my original understanding, from my tenth-grade civics class, that the consent of the Senate should not be unduly withheld unless there was something wildly inappropriate about the nominee or that the nominee lack the prerequisites of office such as a lack of knowledge, judicial temperament, ability to reason, and the ability to cogently argue the merits of a case.  There was nothing  about adherence to party line or a particular ideology.

Schumer has long held the opinion that the "role of ideology in the judicial confirmation process should be legitimatized and considered in the evaluation of judicial nominees."

Which is tantamount to saying that the Supreme Court should set aside their role as the arbiter of whether or not the matter before the court is constitutional, and move to a more activist stance which may usurp the law making powers of the Congress.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Schumer has opposed a Roberts' nomination. In 2003, Schumer was among the three Democrats who voted against Roberts' nomination to the federal District of Columbia Court of Appeals on the grounds that the testimony provided during the consent proceedings were non-responsive. Apparently, Schumer kept asking Roberts questions about past precedents and which had ideological implication to pending or future cases.  And, of course, he was dissatisfied with the answers that did not match his own preconceived notions.

I do not regard Schumer's threat to lead the fight against any of President's Bush's nomination should another Supreme Court position become available to be prudent considering there is no nominee under consideration. While it is his prerogative, and possibly his duty, to stand in opposition to a nominee, it should be based on something other than blatent ideology and blustering. What I do find reprehensible is that Schumer is attempting to subvert the concept of three separate, but equal, branches of government. This should not come as any surprise to any student of government who has witnessed "liberal democrats" trying to achieve within the law what they could not achieve at the ballot box.

I honestly believe that what liberals such as Schumer fear is a more traditional Supreme Court which will return matters which should never have been federalized back to the control of the individual states where the matter should reside. Or that the Court may decide that the original interpretation of the 14th Amendment was designed only to provide relief to freed slaves and should not be applied to "anchor" babies in contravention to most of the world's immigration policies.

Schumer is not only a dangerous ideologue, but an articulate one who hides his true agenda is a web of plausible-sounding rhetoric.

What can YOU do?

Do not elect or re-elect ideologues of either party to positions of power where their personal beliefs and whims can be translated into laws affecting us all.

Do not allow ideologues to appoint activist judges or any other officials who believe that they know what is best for you, me and the entire United States and are willing to enact laws that force us to adhere to their wishes, whims, wants and needs.

Remember that a court, any court, is there to receive testimony of the participants and then make a judgement on the facts, consistent with existing law, both as legislated and as developed in precedential cases. However, judges are not required to give undue weight to precedent or make rulings which effectively creates laws where none currently exists.

Because the Supreme Court is supposed to deliberate, free from political or any other consequences, any undue influence on the Court must be brought to the bench by its judges. Let us insure that we continue to have a fair and equitable judiciary by rejecting ideologues like Chuck Schumer.

-- steve

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