Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Saad Day

On Friday, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Henry W. Saad asked President Bush to remove him from consideration for a vacancy on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Saad, whose nomination has languished for literally years at the hands of Democrats upset with the fact that they cannot win presidential elections, had apparently (and understandably) grown tired of drifting in limbo without a simple up or down vote on the Senate floor. (Fortunately, the good people of Michigan will still have the benefit of having Saad serve as an appellate judge in their state. I guess Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow cannot completely ruin a qualified man's life. Perhaps they will yet find a way. Time will tell.)

If anything, Saad's withdrawal highlights two major problems with the current Republican majority in the Senate. First, the current crop of Republican senators, from the senate majority leader on down, have mastered the grotesque art of being in power without actually wielding any. Perpetually huddled in the corner, afraid to speak up or do anything that might anger a hyperbolic minority, these spineless excuses for statesmen have, by virtue of their weakness, given Democrats their best chance of recapturing a house of Congress since the early 1990s. There was a time when the prospect of Democrat electoral victory would have bothered me, but with friends like the current crop of Republicans, can the Democrats really do any more damage? (Don't misunderstand me: I still think that the Democrats will manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as they have managed to do over the last six years. I just don't think a Republican victory means as much as it used to.)

Second, and more importantly, it has become apparent that the deal struck by the so-called Gang of 14 has crippled Senate Republicans' abilities to hold hearings for new appellate nominees. Don't ask me how, but it has. Some might argue that that agreement served a higher purpose in that it allowed both of Bush's Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed without incident (although that did not stop the Democrats from trying), but I don't buy it. Such a narrow view of the agreement can hardly render that agreement a victory. There are dozens of vacancies throughout the various federal circuit courts, and since the pact was made, even fewer federal circuit court nominees have gotten floor votes. I challenge someone to explain to me how that could be considered victory, particularly when the purpose of the arrangement was to ensure more floor votes.

For the first time in a long time, I could care less what happens in November. Maybe the Republicans will learn their lesson, shape up, confirm some nominees, and earn themselves some goodwill as we roll into the midterms. I am not holding my breath.

I do, however, wish Judge Saad the best. On behalf of the American people, who want and deserve the most qualified judges out there, I apologize to you, sir. Maybe someday, there might actually be people in the Senate who believe in something other than their own elite status, people who will uphold their promises to the American people. Again, I am not holding my breath.

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