Bush: Politics Sully Nominees; Laments Delay on Judicial Confirmations
Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Bush said yesterday the confirmation process for judicial nominees has been distorted by the politics of personal destruction as he sent Congress nominations for eight federal judgeships and five federal prosecutor positions.
Mr. Bush also announced his intention to nominate five individuals to top posts at the Justice Department, where five other nominees are awaiting Senate confirmation.
"Senate confirmation is part of the Constitution's system of checks and balances. But it was never intended to be a license to ruin the good name that a nominee has worked a lifetime to build," Mr. Bush said during a speech last night at the Federalist Society's 25th anniversary gala at Union Station.
"Today, good men and women nominated to the federal bench are finding that inside the Beltway, too many interpret 'advise and consent' to mean 'search and destroy.' "
Mr. Bush criticized Democrats for imposing an "extra-constitutional standard" that is based on political disagreement rather than the Senate's views on a nominee's legal qualifications.
Mr. Bush said three of his Appeals Court nominees have been waiting for a Senate vote for more than a year. He called the delays "a sad commentary on the United States Senate."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, blamed the White House for the delays and said the Democrat-led Congress has confirmed more judges than the Republican Congress had in the previous two years.
Mr. Leahy, whose committee votes on whether to allow nominees to proceed to a full Senate vote, also criticized Mr. …