By Patrick Barron, Opinion Writer
Let us face it, the politicization of the Judiciary system in America is a real threat to our democracy. However, given the current administration practices this does not appear to cease anytime soon. With the Republican Party tactics of selecting deeply conservative and often very young judges to lifetime appointment, it means the problems afflicting our country far outlasts one party.
Any argument suggesting otherwise is either ignorant of the clear facts evident or stuck in a state of everlasting delusion. Either way, the results are clear; Republicans obstructionism has led to a system where future courtrooms look to be one-sided. I will not belabor this point.
However, to be fair, the practice of selecting judges that align with one political party ideology is not new. It far predates the current administration. In fact, both the Republican and the Democrat parties are complicit in continuing the practice with nominees who align heavily on one side of the political spectrum. Depending on which side an individual lies on, it is either beneficial or harmful.
Yet, the Republican Party infamous hijack of the selection process where they purposely stalled or never opened the nomination process during the previous Obama administration. Now, that same Party reigns over both the Executive and Legislative Branches of government. They have green-lit mass nominations at an absurd rate not seen since former President Nixon. Democracy sure works for the people, does it not?
Recently, the New York Times stated, “Republicans are systematically filling appellate seats they held open during President Barack Obama’s final two years in office with a particularly conservative group of judges with life tenure.”
With that said, the Republican Party tactics appear to benefit the party handsomely in the short run. However, ditto to the country’s well-being in the end. A lightning rod for critics, Republicans puts party over people. The country is becoming more diverse, so Judge appointees should reflect that shift as well. For the current administration, 14 of the 18 nominees have been all White men. Not representing the demographic shift in America, it highlights one of the main problems with the party: its lack of diversity.
As the Associated Press noted, “So far, 91 percent of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found. Three of every four are white men, with few African-Americans and Hispanics in the mix. The last president to nominate a similarly homogenous group was George H.W. Bush.”
For example, the current administration nominated Brett J. Taley, 36 years of age for the lifetime appointment as a federal judge in Alabama. There are a few points to consider as one delves into the troublesome context of the pick. Notably, the American Bar Association, the leading authority of rating judicial nominees in America considered the nominee; wait for it, “not qualified” in a unanimous decision. An even far worse egregious reason – Taley never tried a case. In fact, his grand total of law experience is a measly three years. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee, comprised of mainly Republicans approved the pick and even his confirmation by the year’s end.
Unfortunately, this is not the only problematic pick. Most, if not all of the current administration selections have been deeply conservative judges.
In 2013, the Senate Democrats changed the confirmation of judicial appointees to a simple majority. No longer the majority and left with no other options, the Democrats only can look on the sidelines as the madness ensures.
Furthermore, solutions proposed would not become reality due to outside forces at work. First, confirm judges who rely on both parties’ votes. Second, end the obstructionist tactics in our country, as we are not a parliamentary system. Third, the proliferation and dominance of organizations such as a Federalist Society must end. It is ridiculous that an organization tracks potential judges at such a young age to promote their own interests. Also, often times playing into the hands of a few wealthy individuals, think the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court case.
We cannot excuse the Republican Party transgressions any longer, so it is time for the party to stop toying around. The future of our country depends on positive collaboration and not divisive antics you so readily and eagerly employ.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 21st print edition.
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