Sen. Schumer will say anything to justify obstruction

WASHINGTON– In a June 26, 2001 New York Times op-ed, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), a vocal member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued for using ideology as a litmus test for reviewing nominees to the federal bench. In the op-ed he states that ideology should be used to “the extent to which the president himself makes his initial selections on the basis of a particular ideology, the composition of the courts at the time of nomination and the political climate of the day.” Continuing, Sen. Schumer said that the president and Senate should act together to name (i.e. co-nominate) members to the federal bench.

It is unclear within what parameters Senator Schumer considers it appropriate to impose ideological litmus tests, but if the nominee is not in the mold of a liberal activist judge then they probably do not qualify in Senator Schumer’s mind. In a recent CBS poll, 77 percent of Americans believed that the judge’s personal ideology should not affect the decision, unlike Sen. Schumer. President Bush has said his key qualification for a judicial nominee is whether the nominee will strictly interpret the Constitution, rather than legislating from the bench.

When the American Bar Association (ABA) rated him “well qualified”, Schumer’s response was that it did nothing to advance Judge Roberts’ fitness. In a March 2001 letter to President Bush, Schumer noted that the ABA rating is the “gold standard” for judicial nominees, stating that, “[l]imiting the ABA\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s role will harm the process of selecting and confirming federal judges and threatens the quality and integrity of the federal bench.”

To be fair, Senator Schumer has been consistent in one area: his disregard for the Constitution. In 2003 Schumer proposed the creation of 51 bipartisan commissions from each of the states and the District of Columbia to submit judicial nominations for the President to rubber stamp, a blatantly unconstitutional proposal. The Constitution clearly empowers the President to make nominations.

Americans for Tax Reform has called on the Senate to meet its constitutional obligations and ensure a speedy confirmation process with an up or down vote on all judicial nominees.