Weapons of Mass Distraction

By Williams, Patricia J. | The Nation, February 22, 1999 | Go to article overview

Weapons of Mass Distraction


Williams, Patricia J., The Nation


That is what a clever old-style Berkeley radical friend of mine calls the arrows that have flown in Washington for the past year. His comment made me reach back in time, back to the many serious debates that demanded attention before we were all distracted by the name Monica Lewinsky.

The most pressing of these involves the stalled judicial-appointments process. For all the speculation about how impeachment will shape Bill Clinton's place in the history books, the more immediate and tangibly enduring legacy of any President is his impact on the judiciary. Indeed, in summarizing the House managers' case to the Senate, Henry Hyde made mention of the power of the President to appoint judges--Supreme Court Justices, federal court judges at both the appellate and district court levels--as well as the executive's power to appoint attorneys general and prosecutors, including special prosecutors. President Roosevelt's appointments to the Supreme Court are perhaps the most-often cited example of the importance and influence of such power. Another well-known example is the combined impact of Presidents Reagan and Bush; by 1993, when Clinton came into office, their appointees made up more than two-thirds of the hundreds of judges on the federal bench.

In the 1997 volume of Judicature, political scientists Sheldon Goldman and Elliott Slotnick summarized Clinton's appointment record up to that point. From 1993 to 1994, he appointed 107 judges, with a 90 percent confirmation rate by the 103d Congress. From 1994 to 1996, under the Republican-dominated 104th Congress, the confirmation rate dropped to 70 percent; only sixty-two judges were appointed, and delays in the Senate increased measurably. Bob Dole announced his candidacy for President and, according to Goldman and Slotnick, "attempted to make judgeships a major theme of his ... campaign." Dole denounced what he called Clinton's "all-star team of liberal leniency [that] could lock in liberal judicial activism for the next generation."

By the advent of the 105th Congress, the appointment process had slowed to a trickle. To be sure, part of the blame for this can be placed on the White House's extraordinary slowness in putting forward names. There has been much criticism of what, by all accounts, is a byzantine internal-selection process, as well as an overly conciliatory consultation--almost a pre-approval process--with Orrin Hatch and the Judiciary Committee. And as in so many other areas, Clinton has sometimes been less than supportive of his own nominees, as in his startling failure to back his old friend, Georgetown law professor Peter Edelman. But, for all that, the degree of Senate delay in dealing with those who have been put forward is historically unprecedented.

In November 1997, Anthony Lewis lamented the Senate's refusal to act on Clinton's judicial nominees in anything resembling a timely fashion and expressed his concern that Congress seemed to have capitulated to the most intemperate voices in the Republican Party. Lewis singled out the activities of Thomas Jipping, director of the Judicial Selection Monitoring Project, "an extreme-right organization that has been behind many of the attacks on recent judicial nominees. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Weapons of Mass Distraction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.