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June 8, 2005
Irrationality The Norm From The Left On Janice Rogers Brown

The Washington Post reported today that after the rhetoric of "saving the Republic" and the schadenfreude of watching Bill Frist slowly roast over criticism from his base, the bloom may be off the judicial-compromise rose among the Left. Many have begun to complain that the Democratic centrists allowed the most objectionable jurists of President Bush's nominees to proceed to a floor vote in return for the right to block less-objectionable choices, and their favorite case is Janice Rogers Brown:

Democrats generally cheered, and Republicans groused, when a bipartisan group of senators crafted a compromise on judicial nominations last month. But with the Senate now confirming several conservative nominees whom Democrats had blocked for years, some liberals are questioning the wisdom of the deal and fretting about what comes next.

"Our problem with the compromise is the price that was paid," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said yesterday. She and other Congressional Black Caucus members plan to march into the Senate today to protest the impending confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown. ...

Several conservative commentators described the "Gang of 14" deal as a setback for Frist (R-Tenn.). Frist reinforced that notion with speeches describing his disappointment that two of the renominated judges -- William G. Myers III of Idaho and Henry W. Saad of Michigan -- appeared unlikely to be confirmed. But others say several sharply conservative judges are now being seated, and it is far from clear that the "extraordinary circumstances" clause will enable Democrats to block future conservative nominees to the Supreme Court or elsewhere.

Matt at Blogs For Bush has been live-blogging the Brown debate today, with a particularly telling comment from Charles Schumer -- that Brown is the worst nominee that Bush sent to the Senate. Certainly Nan Aron and Joe Biden appear to agree, although Mitch McConnell noted earlier today that the word "extremist" has been used so frequently by Democrats that it simply has lost any power.

But what evidence do the Democrats have that Brown is such an extreme conservative that her entire judicial philosophy exists outside the mainstream of modern thought? They excerpt a passage from a speech she gave five years ago titled "Fifty Ways To Lose Your Freedom," which underscored limiting government as the necessary means to ensuring personal liberty:

But Democrats recited a litany of Brown's controversial statements, including several from a 2000 speech titled "Fifty Ways to Lose Your Freedom." She said senior citizens "blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much 'free' stuff as the political system will permit them to extract." Elsewhere, Brown has said: "Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates. . . . When government advances . . . freedom is imperiled, civilization itself [is] jeopardized."

That may not sound pleasant to Leftists, but I guarantee you that this is not an extremist thought, not for Americans in any age. Those beholden to the AARP may not want to hear it, but the aging baby boomers have taken and will continue to take more than their share of the public trough in the years ahead, leaving the social systems that Democrats defend so passionately to be funded in large part through future contributions rather than current investments. Arguing that a growing and encroaching central government reduces personal and civil liberties isn't an extreme observation -- it's a concise analysis of what happens in autocratic and socialist societies. Try looking at Singapore or Russia, for instance, and tell us how an increasingly intrusive government increased liberty for those populations.

Certainly one can disagree with Janice Rogers Brown and her conclusions, honorably and with intellectual honesty, without being an extremist. But to the hysterics on the Left, any deviation from the politically-correct notions that more government equals better living philosophy is by definition "extreme". That hyperbolic reaction from the Democratic leadership shows itself to be reactionary to the point of embarrassment. By proclaiming that philosophies of limited government are out of the American mainstream, the Democrats reveal themselves as not only historically illiterate but politically irrational as well.

UPDATE: Vote now underway for Justice Brown's confirmation. So far, no suprises ... Chafee and Snowe vote Aye -- so does Ben Nelson of Nebraska, a crossover for the GOP ... Feinstein voted No ... Byrd voted No -- quelle surprise! ...

Brown just won confirmation 56-43, with Ben Nelson the only Democrat to cross over in her support. Congratulations to a fine and worthy jurist for her new assignment, and a nation gives thanks for your patience and forebearance.

UPDATE II: Cloture has been reached for William Pryor, 67-32.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 8, 2005 2:07 PM

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