Tuesday, January 24, 2006

America dodged a bullet with Charles Pickering

In all the commotion around Judge Samuel Alito and his nomination to the Supreme Court, a name has resurfaced from a couple of years ago, Charles Pickering. Alleged President Bush nominated Judge Pickering to the federal appeals court twice (he was rejected the first time) and then installed him as a recess appointment two years ago. Fortunately for America, Judge Pickering served less than a year on the appeals court before retiring. Last week, he gave an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network that sheds considerable light on why all Americans should be grateful that this man no longer wears a judge's robes.

Judge Pickering portrays the opposition to his nomination as grounded entirely in his Christian faith, which is quite simply bearing false witness against his opponents — his Christian faith apparently allows Pickering to violate that particular commandment. In fact, opposition to Pickering centered on issues such as his having been reversed 15 times on appeal for violating "well-settled principles of law."

Pickering goes on to say in the interview,

I would change the Constitution. I would get away from this concept of a "Living Constitution" and say that in the future the Constitution can only be changed, as contemplated by the Founders, the amendment process: judges cannot change the meaning of the Constitution by judicial decision. That would take away these hot-button social issues that have made confirmations so controversial. Judges would not be legislating but they would be deciding and interpreting the Constitution rather than changing the Constitution.
That is not only the view of a man who should never have made it onto the federal bench — much less the appeals court — but it is the view of a man who should never have passed his pre-law courses in college.

I haven't yet made up my mind on Judge Alito's nomination, as to whether he's closer to a Charles Pickering or a John Roberts, but Judge Pickering serves to remind us all of what a poor judge of character George W. Bush has proven to be.