Monday, January 26, 2009

And You're Writing This Because...

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently put forth some advice concerning appointments to four empty seats on the Fourth Circuit.

Overall, I found it confusing. He describes how judges realize and understand their role yet hints that the judges that will be nominated by the Democratic party will somehow not fit in.

With four vacancies on our 15-member court, the 4th Circuit may be the best game in town. With the new numbers in the Senate, the temptation is there to go for an ideological makeover.

Yet the tempting course would prove a misguided one.

What is "the tempting course"? He doesn't exactly say other than ideology should not be the main factor for selecting judges.

"I don't understand how someone so nice and so smart can be so wrong," I have told my wife. Her reply? "And did you stop to think, Jay, that they could be saying the same -- or worse -- about you?"

It seems to me that a judge, someone I would expect to be introspective, wouldn't need someone to ask that question.

The 4th Circuit has never prided itself on ideology but on the collegiality that takes minds out of concrete and prevents personal animosities from clouding and distorting the essential act of judgment.

As does any court. Is he implying that the minds of Democratic-appointed judges are mired in concrete and they're unable to keep their personal animosities in check?

Today, the misadventures of the third branch can, like the miscalculations of elected bodies, place tens or hundreds of thousands at risk or, conversely, hasten the loss of our priceless heritage of personal liberty.

Be afraid! Yes, fear has worked wonders for us over the years. Many could be placed at risk--or even die. And then there's our priceless heritage of personal liberty he's apparently very concerned about. This from the judge who wrote the majority opinion upholding the right of the United States government to detain Yaser Esam Hamdi indefinitely without access to counsel or a court. Hamdi was a U.S. citizen captured during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Our country faces deep and endemic difficulties, and the need for a successful presidency has seldom been so great.

I can't argue with that. For someone who supposed to be politically neutral he sure is living on the edge.

But I still have to ask, "What's your point, Your Honor?"

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