Sunday, May 15, 2005

On the president's team

Okay, so let me say, first of all, that I respect Sen. John McCain beyond the telling of it. I would have voted for him over John Kerry, had the choice been available; I might do it in 2008 if the price is right. Just about everything that McCain says strikes me as moderate and reasonable.

But this morning on This Week, he said something that I just can't get behind. Regarding the upcoming (possible? Probable?) filibuster of the president's judicial nominees, he said that the Senate was designed for the protection of the minority and the filibuster should be available for that protection, but that the president's entire slate of nominees should be approved, because the president has a right to choose his team.

Respectfully, Senator, no. It's one thing for the president to choose his own cabinet - in that case, I think they should be looked at closely (we all know how I feel about Condoleezza Rice), but it's better for the country that he be allowed to choose those with whom he's going to be working closely, within reason. But this isn't his cabinet. These aren't his advisors, these aren't people who are going to be bouncing in and out of his office, these are judges. And in many cases, these are judges who will be in a position to overturn his pet legislation. And these are judges who will be appointed for life.

One of the reasons the government works as well as it does (even as well as it does) is that each branch of the government is checked by another branch. Once upon a time, our legislators got to choose our president; that doesn't happen anymore. When one branch gets to pick and choose the members of the other branches without any kind of review or judgment, those checks and balances no longer exist. A president isn't going to try to check a legislature that selected him, and a president doesn't get to pick judges who will never check his decisions. This isn't his team, this is our team. This is the team established to protect our constitutional rights. And since it's our team, it's only right that it should only be appointed with the advice and consent of the legislators that we elected to represent us.

No comments: