Jewish World Review Nov. 5, 2004 / 21 Mar-Cheshvan 5765

Dan Abrams

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Consumer Reports

Appointing a right judge could be the wrong choice | As I listened to both President Bush and Senator Kerry talk about healing the nation and coming together, I couldn't help wonder whether those were just hollow words when it comes to a controversial issue near and dear to my heart. The appointment and confirmation of judges and any U.S. Supreme Court justices in particular. It is so easy to say the words. Now it is time to see them make the words mean something. First, President Bush needs to avoid appointing ultra conservative judges. Judicial extremists who are completely out of the main stream.

To appoint them is to guarantee that the divide of the nation just continues to grow. And it ignores the reality that while this is a nation divided, most of us are somewhere in the middle, either more liberal Republicans or more conservative Democrats. I would hope the judicial appointments would reflect that reality. President Bush received a mandate from the American people to among other things appoint judicial conservatives to the courts.

That's a given. But when a judge is appointed to an appellate court for life, it's also fair to hope that there are other more conservative judges who were passed over because in comparison, they were, well, too conservative. I hope the president resists the temptation to allow the far right to dictate who makes it on to our most cherished courts, assuming that occurs.

Now, let me rephrase that. Assuming that occurs, Democrats in the Senate must stop the procedural games they've been using to avoid voting on nominees and confirm the president's selections. The people have spoken and it's the president's authority to select judges. The Democratic senators are there not just to advise" but to consent as well. In this divisive issue, in this divided nation, a little compromise would go a long way.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.



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