Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle, Part I: Judges Edition

From Holden:

Today’s gaggle begins with a bit o’ the ol’ snark regarding the filibuster followed by the pat Scottie lie that sets off a constitutional debate Scottie cannot win.

Q Scott, the Senate has managed to function — or not function, as the case may be — for more than 200 years without a ban on judicial filibusters. Is the President concerned about the historic nature of what’s being talked about up on the Hill?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, John, the Senate is working to move forward on their constitutional responsibility, which is to give nominees and up or down vote.


Unfortunately, there are some Senate Democrats that have played politics in taking this to an unprecedented level. We have not seen anything like this in our 214-year history in the Senate. So I would turn that around on you and look at it from the other perspective.

Q Well, let me ask two questions about what you just said. Where in the Constitution are judicial nominees guaranteed an up or down vote? And what about the impact of this whole so-called “nuclear option” on this idea of equal representation in the Senate?

MR. McCLELLAN: There are some judicial emergencies that we’re talking about here, where people need to be put into these positions. There are vacancies now. And Senate Democrats have been blocking those nominees from receiving an up or down vote.

In terms of the Constitution, the role of the President is to appoint qualified individuals to the bench. The role of the Senate is to provide their advice and consent. It’s not to provide advice and block. And what we have seen is that Senate Democrats are taking this to an unprecedented level, something we have not seen in those 214 years that you reference.

And so we would hope that they would move forward in giving all of these nominees an up or down vote, because all of them are well-qualified and would do an outstanding job.

Q What about this equal representation idea?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

Q What about the impact of this nuclear option on the equal representation idea?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I mean, the President — the President has made it clear that when it comes to the White House, our view is that those are matters for the Senate to decide when it comes to Senate procedures. And so the Senate is discussing those issues. We simply want to see all our nominees get an up or down vote, and to see politics put aside by Senate Democrats so that these nominees can receive that up or down vote. But I think if you look at these nominees, they have the majority support of the United States Senate.

Q Let me just go back to the constitutional idea here. You said it again today, and you’ve said it many times in the past, that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to give these nominees an up or down vote. Can we agree that the constitutional requirement of the Senate is for advice and consent, but nowhere in the Constitution does it —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the Constitution —

Q — but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that nominees are guaranteed an up or down vote.

MR. McCLELLAN: The Constitution said “advise and consent,” and that’s the role of the United States Senate, not “advise and block.”

Poor Little Scottie is getting desperate now, but he’s playing at a disadvantage as your average thrid-grader knows more about the constitution than anyone in the Bush assministrtation.

Later, a gaggler points out that Chimpy’s two favorite judges are *gasp* judicial activists!

Q You made clear just a moment ago that he opposes judicial activists. And, yet, if you take a look, as I’m sure you have, at the records of Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, both records reveal, according to conservatives — not me, but according to some conservatives — judicial activism, number one; and, number two, a judicial temperament which is, at times, very sharp, very acerbic in their opinions, and not consistent with what some people consider the kind of judicial temperament that would be appropriate for the kind of circuit court positions that they’re being nominated to. Is there — is the President sort of violating, in these nominees, his own principle for what he wants to see —

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me point out a couple of things about these two nominees you bring up. Both these nominees are individuals that are highly respected and have enjoyed strong support in their respective states. Judge Priscilla Owen has served on the bench of the Texas Supreme Court for some time now and has enjoyed strong support from the people of the state of Texas. Judge Brown is someone who was recently retained with 76 percent of the vote in California. They are —

Q This isn’t a popularity contest, these are —

MR. McCLELLAN: They are both individuals who — I’m pointing out the people who know them best and have seen their work. Both these judges are committed to judicial restraint. Both have a conservative judicial philosophy. They are exactly the kind of people that the President is looking to appoint to the bench, and that’s why he nominated these two individuals.

Now watch as Scottie confirms that Janice Rogers Brown is indeed a judicial activist.

Q Fair enough, but anyone who suggests that Janice Rogers Brown is a judicial activist, in your mind, is dead wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. I think, David, when the President refers to activist judges, he is referring to judges that make law from the bench. And I think both these judges are committed to judicial restraint and to interpreting the law, not trying to make law from the bench.

Oops! Scottie pulled a boner there, maybe Olbermann was right!