I am writing this letter in response to that written by Rabbi Judy Cohen-Rosenberg in the Friday, April 14, 2017 printing of the Roslyn Times.
The rabbi seems to resent the fact that the Republicans “pushed through” the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court “and even changed the rules to do it.”
I have no idea regarding the age of the rabbi.
Perhaps she is quite young. So I would like to illuminate her with a little history regarding the confirmation of Supreme Court justices.
As a rabbi, I understand she had to study ancient biblical texts.
But in this case, I wonder if she ever looked as far back as 1987 before writing this uninformed letter.
Previous to that date, there was more of the bipartisan support that the rabbi laments does not exist now.
The Senate, with rare exceptions, usually confirmed the nominee of the President. It was done out of respect for the office.
The few exceptions included corrupt judges or judges with a history of supporting segregation. Other than that, most confirmations were routine.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. It was then that things changed.
Robert Bork was certainly highly qualified. As an aside, he actually taught Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham when they were students attending Yale Law School.
The Democrats, now enthralled with a more radical leftist ideology than previously, would not confirm Robert Bork. Senator Ted Kennedy launched into a tirade of character assassination further amplified by the media. It is then that bipartisan respect for judgeships disintegrated if the nominee was from a Republican president. So dear Rabbi, if I may paraphrase you, “it is the Democrats who turned back the clock on the Senate traditions that sought to garner bipartisan support.” This outrage actually led to the creation of a verb, to be “borked” which means to have your character systematically assassinated in public hearings and in the press.
In 1990, President George Bush (the first) nominated Clarence Thomas to the Court. The Democrats tried to destroy that nomination too, by slandering the judge with accusations of sexual harassment.
The hearings of this nomination were widely televised.
Despite the vicious attacks, Judge Thomas was confirmed and sits on the court to this very day..
President Clinton succeeded President Bush.
He nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court.
Despite the tactics that the Democrats had previously used, the Republicans cooperated and both were easily confirmed.
I might add that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most incompetent, bigoted, and narrow-minded judges to ever be seated. Stephen Breyer is no day at the beach either.
When the second George Bush was elected, the Democrats added a further downward trajectory. They did not want George Bush to nominate too many conservatives to the lower courts.
Prominent jurists and the National Women’s Law Center actually stated, “there was no obligation to confirm someone just because they are scholarly or erudite.”
In other words, the respect for a President to nominate well qualified jurists was to be trampled. The Democrats began to filibuster judicial nominees to the Circuit Courts.
Miguel Estrada was the first nominee to the Court of Appeals ever to be filibustered. Nine other conservative nominees, yes, nine others, were also filibustered.
Are you keeping track, rabbi?
The Republicans were able to overcome this despicable maneuver when George Bush won election a second time. They picked up extra Senate seats and were able to confirm two Supreme Court nominees, Sam Alito and John Roberts.
President Bush wanted to nominate a Supreme Court justice in his last year should one vacate.
Several names that you might recognize told the President that he had no right to nominate someone in the last year of his Presidency.
Why? Just because they said so. No other reason needed.
You might recognize the names of some of those people, i.e. senators Biden, Obama, and Schumer.
Let us not forget House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayer to the Supreme Court in 2009. She was confirmed easily although, I believe, she is one of the most intellectually unqualified candidates ever to be approved.
At this point, the Senate was controlled by the Democrats.
The Republicans now thought it was their turn to do what the Democrats had previously done.
They began to filibuster Obama nominees. It was then that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, invoked the “Nuclear Option.”
Rabbi, if I may quote you again, “As a faith leader, I am deeply troubled that the Senate majority invoked the “Nuclear Option.” as it sets a precedent…”
Tell me Rabbi, were you deeply troubled when Harry Reid did this?
Are you ignorant of all this or are you just being deceitful?
Judge Scalia died in 2016. Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace him.
The Republicans, in turn, told Obama that he had no right to nominate a judge in the last year of his presidency. They refused to give him a hearing.
The sauce that’s good for the goose is the sauce that’s good for the gander. You can tell that to Biden, Obama, Schumer, and Pelosi.
When President Trump nominated the highly qualified Neil Gorsuch, Sen. Schumer arranged a filibuster for the first time in Senate history on a Supreme Court candidate for ideological reasons alone.
The only other time a filibuster was used was on Abe Fortas, in 1968. This was due to charges of corruption, not ideology.
Thankfully, Judge Gorusch has been confirmed.
So I conclude that it has been the historical ruthlessness of the Democrats that have politicized and polarized judicial nominations.
In closing, dear rabbi, I noticed you proudly placed in your byline that you are a board member of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.
While this is off topic, I wonder how you reconcile your being a rabbi with the rendering of abortions and the selling of fetal tissue for profit.
Does that violate Jewish law? Just asking.
Dr. Wayne Roth