Tossing around “unconstitutional” claims

Writing about the Republican/FoxNews Party’s staged 30-hour marathon filibuster protesting the Democrats’ use of the filibuster, The Hill.com ends the story with this gem:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) added that Democrats are treating Bush “in a ridiculous and unconstitutional” fashion. He noted that “hardly anything [on the Senate agenda] is more important” than the president’s right to nominate judges.

This is inane on so many levels. First of all, other than Supreme Court Justices, the Constitution says nothing specifically about the president’s right to appoint judges. It does say that Congress has the right to write laws installing the power to appoint “inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.”

Second of all, “ridiculous” is a way to describe the 167 federal judgeship nominees the Republicans held up during Clinton’s term. It is not ridiculous that the Democrats should use a long-standing Senate procedure — the filibuster — to block the vote on 4 of Bush’s radical right-wing, racist, religious zealot nominees while approving all of the other 168 more reasonable nominees. Hatch’s whining is ridiculous: crying because he can’t have EVERYTHING he wants.

Third of all, nothing in the Democrats’ actions have done anything to interfere with the President’s “right to nominate judges.” He can nominate all he wants. He can nominate fascists, abortion clinc bombers, lynch-mob organizers, or his family’s friends — the princes of Saudi Arabia. Nothing is stopping him from his nominations. There is nothing more important on the Sanate’s agenda than providing advice and consent to the president’s nominees: not a simple rubber stamp.

If Hatch wants to live in a country with one-party rule and an obedient legislature, I’m sure the Russians or the Chinese might be able to accommodate his request for defection.