Schumer Vows to Block Bush Supreme Court Nominees

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) stated Friday, July 27, that the Senate should refuse to confirm any new Bush Supreme Court picks “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

While quoting Schumer extensively on other topics, the media almost completely ignored Schumer's threat to deprive the President of the constitutional right to appoint Supreme Court justices.   

“The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance,” the Senate Judiciary Committee member told the Fifth Annual American Constitution Society Convention.  “Given the track record of this president and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings…we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances.” 

“The only entity dangerously out of balance is Schumer,” said Jan LaRue, a member of CMI's advisory board, who worked for confirmation of both Roberts and Alito. “Schumer is a blustering bully who's always pandering for political power and publicity. His latest ridiculous ranting is further proof that he wouldn't know the Constitution from a kumquat or precedent from popcorn.”

Schumer's name appears frequently in articles and newscasts between July 27 and July 31.   ABC's George Stephanopoulos interviewed Schumer about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on This Week on July 29.  The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC all quoted Schumer at least once on “Gonzogate.” All of them failed to report the Senator's July 27 ACS speech.  The Associated Press and did run articles that mentioned the speech, along with CNSNews and Life Site News.  

Schumer asserted that Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito deceived senators during their confirmation hearings in 2005 and early 2006.  “There is no doubt we were hoodwinked,” he said. While both justices initially presented themselves as “fair and compassionate," the New York lawmaker said, “the decisions this term were especially cruel, advancing the traditional conservative preferences for the government over criminal defendants and the interests of business over consumers and employees.”

Among other cases, Schumer quibbled with Gonzales v. Carhart, upholding a federal late-term abortion ban; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, limiting the use of race in assigning students to public schools; and Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., striking down a provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that prohibited corporations and certain other groups from running “issue ads” 30 days before a federal primary or 60 days before a federal election.   

“If he cared about cruelty, Schumer would be celebrating the demise of partial birth abortion instead of complaining that the Court righted a constitutional wrong. Trying to justify the use of race to assign kids to public schools in light of the 14th Amendment and Brown v. Board of Education shows his ignorance of the Constitution and precedent,” LaRue added.

The U.S. Constitution grants the President of the United States the power to appoint “Judges of the Supreme Court” with the “advice and consent” of the Senate (Article II, Section 2).  According to Schumer, the Senate will no longer offer "advice and consent,” just blanket rejection.     

The Senate oath of office requires lawmakers to swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and to “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.”

Schumer's proposal “suggests a new level of dysfunctionality in Washington,” Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told the Associated Press.  “The partisanship and the divide [are] counterproductive.” 

David Niedrauer is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.