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Yesterday, Charles Schumer called on President Bush to dial down the rhetoric of the people opposing the Democrats' use of the filibuster, claiming that "harsh language" undermines the political process:
In his radio appeal, Schumer sought to draw Bush more directly into the fray by urging the president to denounce some conservatives who have used harsh language to criticize the Democrats.
"I am making a heartfelt plea to you, Mr. President. When you came to Washington, you said you wanted to change the climate in D.C.," Schumer said. "Those stating these abhorrent views count themselves as your political allies. One word from you will bring a halt to these un-American statements. That would be a way to strengthen democracy here at home."
The senator referred generally to some activists comparing judges to the Ku Klux Klan and terrorists.
The same AP report by Devlin Barrett notes that the Democrats started on the rhetoric of personal destruction far earlier, in a reminder near the end of the article:
Republicans have also complained about some of the Democratic language in the judges debate. The GOP and some Jewish groups criticized Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, for alluding to the rise of Adolf Hitler in a speech about Republican efforts to end judicial filibusters.
But that hardly describes the bald hypocrisy in Schumer's statement. Harry Reid, during his notorious Del Mar High School appearance less than 24 hours before Schumer's radio address, not only called Bush a "loser" and a "bad president", but attacked the judicial nominees in a personal and vicious manner:
Reid took students through a primer of the five most-disputed judicial nominees, arguing some were opposed to the 1973 Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion. He charged others with trying to dismantle government programs like Social Security.
"I don't want them. I think they're bad people," Reid said of the nominees.
He described California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, one of the Bush nominees Republicans will probably float first for approval, as an African-American opposed by the Congressional Black Caucus.
"She is a woman who wants to take us back to the Civil War days," Reid said.
Coming from the man who asserted that Justice Clarence Thomas could not write above the eighth-grade level and was subsequently forced to admit that he had never read one of Thomas' opinions, Reid's judgment on judicial temperament and qualifications appears bad enough. However, calling these sitting judges and attorneys, all of whom rated as at least qualified for their nominations by the ABA, as "bad people" shows desperation and a complete lack of ethics on the part of Reid. Schumer's attempt to push the blame on George Bush for overheated criticism after that amounts to nothing more than another case of projection by the Democrats.
Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are attorneys and members of the Bar Association. Perhaps it has been so long for some of them since the practice of law that they have failed to recall the ABA's doctrine on ethics, especially as applied to judicial appointments. I'm not a lawyer, but it didn't take me long to find out that these so-called gentlemen of the Bar should be disciplined for ethical violations by their association. Take Canon 8, EC 8-6 (emphasis mine):
Judges and administrative officials having adjudicatory powers ought to be persons of integrity, competence, and suitable temperament. Generally, lawyers are qualified, by personal observation or investigation, to evaluate the qualifications of persons seeking or being considered for such public offices, and for this reason they have a special responsibility to aid in the selection of only those who are qualified. It is the duty of lawyers to endeavor to prevent political considerations from outweighing judicial fitness in the selection of judges. Lawyers should protest earnestly against the appointment or election of those who are unsuited for the bench and should strive to have elected or appointed thereto only those who are willing to forego pursuits, whether of a business, political, or other nature, that may interfere with the free and fair consideration of questions presented for adjudication. Adjudicatory officials, not being wholly free to defend themselves, are entitled to receive the support of the bar against unjust criticism. While a lawyer as a citizen has a right to criticize such officials publicly, he should be certain of the merit of his complaint, use appropriate language, and avoid petty criticisms, for unrestrained and intemperate statements tend to lessen public confidence in our legal system. Criticisms motivated by reasons other than a desire to improve the legal system are not justified.
Now, let's see what the Democrats have said about these nominees. Reid called them "bad people" and claimed without offering a shred of evidence that Janice Rogers Brown, a sitting state Supreme Court Justice in California for over nine years, wants to take us back to Civil War days -- a particularly nasty comment considering Brown's African-American heritage and her childhood under the oppression of Jim Crow. Ted Kennedy called her a "Neanderthal". None of their fellow Democrats -- and attorneys -- have defended Brown against these intemperate and personal attacks, and many others like them.
I suppose that the lesson here is that ethics are fine for some lawyers at some times, but Democratic attorneys who manage to get themselves elected to the Senate don't have to act within those boundaries any longer, even as they rely on their legal backgrounds for credibility in judging nominations to the bench. One would hope that the ABA would read its own canon and start making its voice heard. Does the ABA now also believe that ethics are relative?Sphere It View blog reactions
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The thinness of the democrats' ability to discuss issues and opinions in a substantive way was on full display again this weekend, as Harry Reid stated that Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen are 'bad people'. Not bad judges, not bad nominess, bu... [Read More]
Tracked on May 9, 2005 6:47 AM
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