Consider also the matter of judicial nominees. This has been the very best part of the Bush Administration. Judicial appointments are the one legacy of an administration that lasts long after it has faded into history. The Supreme Court Justices who were appointed by Bush may stay on the High Court for 30 years. Justice John Paul Stevens was appointed by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975. He shows no sign of retiring and is in excellent health. It is not only the Supreme Court Justices who are important. President Bush's nominees to the Courts of Appeals have been superb. More than 98% of Federal appeals are decided at that level. Well under 100 cases are adjudicated by the Supreme Court. If the Democrats take control of the Senate they have pledged to filibuster Bush's judicial nominees. Even State Auditor Robert Casey, Jr., the Democratic nominee against Senator Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, who says he is pro-life, also says he would support the filibuster of Bush nominees. James H. Webb, Jr., the Reagan Republican turned Democrat to run against Virginia's Senator George Allen, also has indicated he would oppose Bush nominees. Those are the most conservative Democrats running. The other candidates who could win are in Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Rhode Island and are strong liberals. There is no question that they would oppose Bush nominees.Emphasis added. This is an important point. Appeals court judges decide a huge amount of the important federal cases in the system. The Supreme Court, while incredibly important, hears very few cases. I am firmly behind George W. Bush and the Republicans who put Michael McConnell, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, Neil Gorsuch, etc. on the federal appellate bench. I'm not always firmly behind the legislative agenda, but you take the good with the bad.
This part of the piece was very interesting...
When I was at the swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., at the White House, Justice Clarence Thomas pulled me aside and he said, "If the other party had controlled the Senate, Alito would not have even gotten out of the Judiciary Committee."Emphasis added yet again. I think that Justice Thomas is absolutely correct. Alito would've been sunk if the Democrats had the votes. It was obvious that they didn't and that the whole filibuster thing was just Kerry and other 2008 presidential hopefuls trying to out-Kos each other. Remember what happened to the moderate Senate Democrats that backed Thomas. They were sent packing. On the judges issue, there are fewer and fewer Democrats that can get away with backing conservative nominees, no matter how qualified they are.
Thomas himself survived the Judiciary Committee despite Anita F. Hill's accusations, but only because there were some moderate Democrats on the Committee then. There is none now. In fact, there is only one real conservative Democrat left in the Senate, Ben Nelson of Nebraska. There are a couple of liberals who will vote with the President on occasion, such as energy policy, but there is none other. And the Judiciary Committee is the most ideological of all the committees. The Senate Democratic Leadership has made sure that only leftists serve on that Committee.
This coming election is going to have a major effect on judicial nominations for the rest of the Bush presidency.