Bush Raps 'Politics' during Confirmations; Sees Legacy in Judicial Nominees

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush on Monday told Congress to stop politicizing the confirmation of judges, saying the process should rise above the politics of the moment, though critics said the speech was itself politically motivated.

It is clear we need to improve the process for confirming qualified judicial nominees, said Mr. Bush, calling on Congress to hold votes next month on nominees that remain in limbo.

Mr. Bush's speech to several hundred people in Cincinnati served as a legacy marker for the president - staking out what he believes he has accomplished in the judicial branch - as well as a rallying cry for legal conservatives.

The president set forth a clear case for judges who view the Constitution as having a fixed meaning, rather than as a living document that changes over time.

This concept of a 'living Constitution' gives unelected judges wide latitude in creating new laws and policies without accountability to the people, Mr. Bush said.

The president said that when he came to office eight years ago, he made a promise to nominate judges who believed that the Constitution means what it says.

With your support, we have kept that pledge for the past eight years, Mr. Bush said to the applauding crowd, which included members of the conservative Federalist Society and the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University.

I have appointed more than one-third of all judges now sitting on the federal bench, and these men and women are jurists of the highest caliber, with an abiding belief in the sanctity of our Constitution, Mr. Bush said.

The White House said that the president has sent 376 nominees for Article III judicial positions on the Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals (Circuit Courts) and the District Courts, to the Senate.

Of those, 324 were confirmed and 313 currently sit on the federal bench, the White House said. …