Remember Brownie? This morning Senate Republicans might as well have given him a federal judgeship.

If there’s anything the last five years have proven — from Iraq to Katrina – it’s that competence matters.

Federal judgeships cannot be political gifts to political cronies.

But that’s what happened this morning – Brett Kavanaugh is now a judge on the D.C. Circuit. And Washington barely seemed to notice – in spite of the noise we Democrats made about his outrageous nomination.

Am I overstating the case? You tell me.

Mr. Kavanaugh’s legal experience consists largely of three years with Ken Starr and responsibility in the White House Counsel’s Office for selecting right-wing judicial nominees.

Now he’ll be a judge on one of the most important federal courts with huge impacts on worker rights and employee safety, clean air, and clean water. But not once in his hearings did Mr. Kavanaugh point to any experience in these areas of the law. Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t have the experience for this job. An attorney who has played a central role in only five court cases isn’t ready to manage one.

What are we stuck with? Judges on the D.C. Circuit — the court to which Mr. Kavanaugh was just confirmed — averaged over 26 years of legal experience at the time of their confirmation. Kavanaugh will be a glaring exception. In his 15-year legal career, he has only played a central role in five cases—and was the lead counsel in only three of those.

So why did he get the job? Kavanaugh has been a key member of the Bush Administration from day one. Now the President’s Staff Secretary, he began his White House career in the Office of Legal Council. During his tenure there, his primary responsibility was selecting and preparing federal court nominees. Given his past recommendations, judges like Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers-Brown, and William Pryor, and his central role in pushing the federal judiciary far to the right of mainstream American, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb predicting the kind of judge Kavanaugh will be.

In his three years with Ken Starr, not only did he help craft the articles of impeachment against President Clinton, he publicly defended Starr after it was over, calling him an “American hero” who fell victim to a “presidentially approved smear campaign against him.”

Federal judges are supposed to be above the political fray. Most come to us with unimpeachable qualifications. But this judgeship reeks of political payback.

I voted against Kavanaugh’s nomination as did 35 other senators. Every one a Democrat. But it wasn’t enough.

So here’s what has to happen.

Soon we will be asked to vote on the nominations of Terrance Boyle to the Fourth Circuit and Mike Wallace to the Fifth Circuit. Boyle’s nomination is opposed by an unprecedented group of at least 30 law enforcement associations, and Michael Wallace’s nomination received the first ABA rating of unanimously “not qualified” since President Reagan. If we are to stop the ideological court-packing that is taking place under this Administration, if we are to stop this culture of cronyism and protect the integrity and independence of our federal courts, we need to stand strong against these nominees, you need to speak out, write to your senators and your newspapers. Force a debate.

But the real answer? We don’t have enough Democrats in the Senate. Want to end the cronyism? Win the Senate this November.

End of story – that’s the only real and lasting answer.

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165 Responses to JUDGE BROWNIE

  1. Darth,

    We are in agreement on that one. I’d like to be able to drive 100 mph on the highway too. Well actually, then I’d want to be able to drive 110 😉

    Ginny in CO Says:
    May 30th, 2006 at 5:06 pm
    Pamela Leavey Says:
    May 30th, 2006 at 6:18 pm

    ~clap, clap clap~

  2. Darth Malice says:

    Dave that’s the spirit!By the way I have a aunt that works at Princeton in the Music Dept.She is very liberal,but I don’t hold that against her.This is a very good site and I do enjoy yalls views……even if there wrong :)…..I can tell there are very bright and committed folks in here.

  3. Ginny in CO says:


    Again, the Judges do not change laws. They simply rule on whether there is some aspect of the law which does not comply with the constitution. The decisions are written to specifically address what does not meet the judicial consideration- not what doesnt meet the worldview of the Bible belt Christian Fundamentalists who want to keep anyone from doing what the Bible says is sin. The problem, left or right, are judges who bend interpreting the law to their own ideology. These are the ones who should not be judges. I also don’t care if the Judges preference is what is in the Bible, as long as his legal argument is sound. If the Left Coast Judge makes a decision that happens fit the majority view in that state, and doesn’t violate the constitution to do it, would you care?

    A judicial decision takes the law off the books until a new version is written, passed by the legislature and signed by the executive. When do the votes count? When you can get the 2/3rds majority to pass the amendment. (Which could still be struck down as unconstitutional by the SC) Do you really think the marriage defense amendment is worth the Senate time and all the state legislatures? Not to mention the activists. What is it defending? Semantics?

    While you see not being able to drive 100 mph as restricting your freedom, the laws are passed to protect lives because the fatality rates are closely associated with higher speeds. If it were just you dead, we could nominate you for a Darwin Award and go on with life.. The problem is the people you take with you. Freedom restriction is sometimes necessary – you cant yell ‘Fire’ in a theater if there is none.(If you yell ‘BOMB’ on an airplane, it will get you 3 hots and a cot)

    There are some significant minorities who are not likely to ever see their religious views respected as they would like. Yes, Quakers can stay out of military service. How much of every tax dollar goes to the Pentagon?

    I live in Denver metro, not the left coast. A lot of people are beginning to see gay unions as no big deal (and this is bound to go up as the poulation demographics change). Extending Government benefits is the problem? First, some of what we are talking about are not benefits per se. They are legal issues of inheritance, etc. Employee benefits are another so what. If the person was married to a person of the opposite sex, they would be able to add them to their health insurance, etc.

    You really have a problem with extending the 1100+ marriage perks in the tax laws etc. to people of the same sex? It is true, they can set these up legally and many do. Costs about 1 arm apiece.

    You are more likely to be paying benefits without these because someone who is not covered by the partners health insurance can qualify for medicaid. Saw a lot of that in home care. The partners income etc did not matter. The state just saw them as roommates.

    If it doesn’t make any difference to you what people do behind closed doors, why are you blocking the benefits of a committed relationship? No, gay unions are not on a par with heterosexual. They ususally have thought about it more, have faced who they are and what is important to them more than most heterosexual kids who jump into the committment. They have a higher success rate I believe, but it’s early to really assess that. At least the adoption agencies have spoken up in support of gay parents.

    The polygamists have had some MAJOR horror stories coming out lately on a sect that is at the Arizona/Utah border. I have no links but it was out there in the last week or two again. Totally sick. On a par with the Kansas scum who show up at all the burials of Iraq vets. Similar problem as gays. Many of the second or third wives live on welfare, food stamps and medicaid.

    On abortion, do you support better sex education and access to contraception? Especially the morning after pill and RU 486? Sexuality is nothing new. Raging sex hormones are what got the world population to 6 billion and growing. Learning to understand and control them is more than “Just say no” Especially since the majority of women who get them are in their 30’s to 40’s and married.

    The civil union has been suggested for some time, I don’t really see what is different unless you are taking all the marriage perks off the law books too. That goes back to the statiscal stability of individuals who are in a committed relationship. In health, longevity and financial security; they do better than their single friends. That is to the Government & society’s advantage.

    Read something that totally blew me away at least a year ago. Iran allows transgender sex operations. Seems to me they have a state health insurance. Even if not, it seems far more open minded than I would have expected from the theocracy.

  4. Darth,

    I’m just from the town of Princeton, I’m not affiliated with the University in any way. Which I’m sure they would be very quick to point out. They do have high standards after all 🙂

    It’s a great place and a beautiful campus. Glad to hear your aunt is employed there.
    Though as I’ve mentioned here before, I did spend 4 very enjoyable years on the Princeton University campus. Though unfortunately, at the time I was suppose to be at my HS attending classes. 😉

  5. Darth

    What Ginny said and then some. I’ve read the stories about the polygamy cults, and they are very sad indeed. I don’t think it’s right. In the traditional sense that committed relationships should between between two people, I personally feel polygamy is wrong — however, I don’t see two women or two men have a committed relationship as wrong.

    Fact is same sex attraction is as old as mankind. Read some history – not biased history books, some well researched historical fiction is more likely to hold the truth. The Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Neanderthals.

    Who said a relationship should only be between a man and a woman – the men who wrote the bible. God didn’t write the bible. Men did.

  6. Hey Ginny, stop picking on my buddy Darth concerning wanted to be able to drive 100 mph!

    Damn liberals 😉

  7. Okay on the driving 100 mph – this girl likes fast cars, I’ve owned a couple of sportscar in my day… sure it’s fun, but it reckless too and people get killed.

  8. Ginny in CO says:

    Dave from P

    One with a bleeding heart at that 😉

    BTW, speaking of our tax dollars at work. A decade or so ago, the Agriculture Department funded a study of sheep (the woolly ones) to find out what males made the best studs. Answer: the ones that are interested in female, rather than male, sheep. % that like other males ~ 10.

    Not sure I would want THAT government job. 🙄

  9. Darth Malice says:

    Ginny,Dave,and Pamela not sure where to start so I will get yall on the other threads.A word on Polygamy.I am against it but if adults want to engage in it that’s up to them.I do like that HBO series “Big Love” so I was curious on yalls thinking.Running off boys and forcing young girls to marry old goats is not acceptable……See yall on the other threads.

  10. Darth

    I’m so glad I don’t want TV – I’ve never seen the show. Glad you are sticking around. We enjoy good banter with the otherside.

  11. Oops just noticed I made a bad boo boo up in my comment #108 above.

    The Slime Boaters for Bush smear movie they were trying to show in PA that I was referring to up above was called “Stolen Honor’ NOT “Stolen Valor”, which is a book written in the late 90’s I believe and something different.

  12. SPO says:

    Dave, question, why are you so harsh on the SwiftVets?

    Kerry’s story about Christmas in Cambodia is clearly apocryphal, and the SwiftVets did force a correction of the public record on that, which is good, especially since Kerry told that story on the Senate floor in an attempt to influence US policy in Nicaragua. And Kerry did get something very very wrong. He said that if the US left Vietnam that only a few thousand would be subject to reprisals from the Communist North. Of couse, we know that Kerry wildly underestimated the viciousness of the North Vietnamese government (Kerry should have known better, as the massacres in Hue were well known).

    My point is, at the end of the day, that John Kerry’s service and his post-war activities have created a lot of controversy. John Kerry would have been far better served had he simply thanked the SwiftVets for serving their country during the Vietnam War and stated that people had different views of his service and his post-war activities. The war obviously was an emotional thing for Kerry and the SwiftVets. So maybe we can cut the SwiftVets some slack and focus, as you rightly did, on a bunch of chickenhawks wearing band-aids.

  13. SPO Says:
    June 1st, 2006 at 12:42 am

    Move to dismiss on the grounds that SPO is under the influence of koolaid based paint huffing.

  14. battlebob says:

    Do you really think the Swiftie attacks would have stopped if Kerry acknowledged their service? Kerry did thank the service of all veterans repeatedly.

    The Swiftie goal was/is to defeat Kerry. There was no desire to understand anybody.

    Every charge they made was refuted so truth was not the goal.

    I thought the Cambodia thing was nonsense. First they were saying he wasn’t in Cambodia but he was close enough to see the soldier fires (Kymeer Rouge). Where was Bush?

    Then it wasn’t Christmas but geees he was obviously there. Again. where was Bush.

    The thing that gripes me the most is Kerry was trying to bring the troops home. That fact cannot be spun away or denied. If he was out for himself he could have kept his mouth shut and run as a decorated vet.
    The obvious leadership and self-sacrifice is lost on the Swiftie folks. I do not think their intentions are honorable.

    One of his crew mates was a Swiftie – Saunders – because Kerry jumped on him for murdering a VN woman. One of the Swifties was Thurston who was a fellow Swift boat commander and alleged the action with Rasmussen never occurred. He got a Bronze Star for supporting Kerry while Rasmussen was being rescued. Both Rasmussen and Thurston were on a weekend talk show together. Rasmussen confronted Thurston; recounted the story and called Thurston a liar. All Thurston could do was look at his hands.
    We need to honor their service but they have the responsibility – as we all have – of acting honorably. The Swifites have dishonored Kerry and have dishonored all Vets who served their country the best they could in a situation that was chaotic and horrible.
    They owe Kerry and all Vets an apology.

  15. SPO says:

    Bottom line, if Kerry had simply thanked O’Neil/Swifties and said that the Vietnam War created a lot of wounds that still fester and acknowledged that his Winter Soldier stuff pissed some people off (which was what this was really about), he would have appeared a lot more magnanimous, and it would have taken the sting out of their charges.

    Bottom line, he did not spend “Christmas in Cambodia” and he talked about it being seared in his memory. That was not true.

    Bottom line, Kerry did minimize (and he should have known better) the horrors that the North Vietnamese were going to visit on the South. There are legitimate questions about this? Are you really arguing that there are not?

    That’s not Kool-aid, that’s reality.

    And if you think that Kerry didn’t piss off a lot of vets with his actions (and I am not saying that he was not right to take those actions), you’re drinking the Kool-aid. Kerry should have anticipated these issues and dealt with them gracefully, instead he ignored them and tried to silence them through the legal process (a very ham-handed move).

    Why is this so controversial? And why not focus on chickenhawks wearing band-aids, instead of bitter guys who fought a war. War messes people up. Maybe it messed up O’Neil.