Charles Krauthammer has a typically brilliant column on Sonia Sotomayor, with just one problem: In spite of all her jarring difficulties, Dr. K. says she should be confirmed because “elections have consequences.” He advises Republicans:
Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds — consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama — that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.
Andy McCarthy picks apart that logic, noting that “at most, the senate owes the president only to have a confirmation vote, not to win a confirmation vote.” His closing remarks:
I don’t think Senators owe any deference on judicial selections. There is no reason to weight the system beyond ordinary politics — if senators vote unreasonably against the president’s good nominees (or rubber stamp his bad ones) voters can punish the senators in the next election. That’s more than enough pressure to do the right thing. But even if I accepted, for argument’s sake, that some deference is owed, it would be very slight deference — not nearly what the president should get for executive branch appointments — and it could be overcome pretty easily if the judicial nominee were bad enough.
I’m with McCarthy on this one.
Update: McCarthy posted additional thoughts.