May 14, 2014

"There is a question, I think, among many of my colleagues, whether… an activist conservative can become a judge that is not an activist judge."

"For my vote, I have to have certainty. And I don't know quite how to get it, in view of this record."

Said Senator Dianne Feinstein, questioning Michael Boggs, a Georgia state court judge and former legislator who was nominated by Obama to serve as a federal district court judge.
[As a Georgia legislator,] Boggs had championed an amendment to Georgia's constitution to ban gay marriage, urging his colleagues at the time “to stand up for things that are common-sensical, things that are premised on good conservative Christian values.”...

Boggs had also backed a proposal requiring Georgia physicians to post the number of abortion-related procedures they performed over the last decade online....

[Senator Richard] Blumenthal... said he found it “incredible … that you would not understand that this amendment would put doctors at risk.”

Boggs also voted twice as a state legislator to keep the Confederate battle emblem as part of Georgia’s state flag....
Yikes. Obama nominated him. The Senators now must perform this theater of moderated outrage for the people — their segment of the people who find all of these things hateful.

This is quite a record of bigotry, from the perspective of a voter who's had his political mind prepped by the Democratic Party. Racist, anti-gay, and warring on women — all in one man's 4-year legislative record.

What an irksome problem for Feinstein and the other Democrats in this election year! Apparently Feinstein et al. believe they can get through this with some Judiciary Committee theater around the notion of "judicial activism." Like any legislator, Boggs was a political activist — in his case, an activist for a cause Democrats see fit to call "conservatism."

But every good judge supposedly knows to leave political activism to the political sphere, so if only Boggs intones the usual lines forswearing "activism" and professing dedication to purely legal analysis, then the Senators can recite their lines about how they believe he has adequately demonstrated fealty to judicial values.

Dianne Feinstein wants certainty. You hear that, voters?

But, of course, Feinstein and her co-Democrats do love their activist judges when they are liberal activist judges — whom they do not call activist judges. Senators whip out this "activist judges" label when they think they won't like the direction judges will take in their decisions (whether or not those decisions will rest soundly in legal analysis). Feinstein's question is whether "an activist conservative can become a judge that is not an activist judge." That's the liberal Senator's version of a question that a conservative Senator would phrase as whether "an activist liberal can become a judge that is not an activist judge."

We're very used to this senatorial theater around the word "activist," but perhaps some of the people will find the performances convincing. Is it catharsis yet?

43 comments:

Gahrie said...

.....but she's fine with an activist Liberal becoming an activist judge.

Bob Ellison said...

His position may or may not have changed.

damikesc said...

Like racism is required for their outrage. The Dems tarred Judge Pickering as racist and he fought the KKK when the FBI wasn't the main people in the groups.

AJ Lynch said...

Have you noticed conservatives are very rarely referred to as activists? The word activist [which tends to have positive and favorable meanings and tones] is reserved, by the media and others, for libruls.

Bill Crawford said...

I'm no fan of Obama, and his nominating a conservative to the bench causes some cognitive dissonance.

How did this happen?

Illuninati said...

I'm experiencing cognitive dissonance. Obama administration nominated a conservative?

The Crack Emcee said...

Nobody's prepped me for anything and I find this guy more-than-cringe-worthy. Good for Obama for sticking him up there - for making us weigh the country for realz.

Wrestling should be our national sport,...

Ann Althouse said...

"How did this happen?"

The Senators from the state where the federal court is located have a great deal of influence over who is chosen, and the Senators from Georgia are conservative.

There's also a theory that Obama has struck some kind of deal with Republicans. I'll get you the link for that.

David said...

Hacks. And I mean all of them.

MadisonMan said...

Makes me wonder why he was nominated.

Ann Althouse said...

"Georgia Rep. David Scott (D) ratcheted up his rare attack on the White House for striking a deal with the Peach State's two GOP senators. The agreement is aimed at moving a slate of six judicial nominees out of the Senate."

Titus said...

Face it-it's only judicial activism when the other side does it.

Mark Nielsen said...

To me, "activist judge" does not mean the same as "political activist who happens to be a judge". Instead, it means a judge who is wants to expand the role of the judiciary into what should be reserved for the legislative branch -- in other words, a judge willing to legislate from the bench.

I suppose judges from any political persuasion *could* be guilty of that, but I have only seen it to be epidemic on the left.

Roughcoat said...

Excellent post, Althouse.

Tank said...

I get it. It's a compromise between the White House and the Republicans.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SO MANY PEOPLE SCREAM THAT THEY WANT.

COMPROMISE.

Win Win.

Was I screaming there?

PS Or are they lying when they say we should "work together"?

lgv said...

Just as I thought. The nomination is a quid pro quo, without actually stating it.

There will be outrage and then the candidate gives just the right answers to perfectly worded questions and he get just enough votes to pass. Win-win for both parties I guess.

Feinstein uses the term activist as a pejorative term, which is quite interesting. Would not the conservative, statist sort of Republican be less activist versus the ever open to modern interpretation liberal?

Unknown said...

Conservative activist is an oxymoron. Doesn't make sense to try to change things TO status quo. Bad label.

IMHO a judge by definition is conservative, trying to determine wither an activity is within established law. If the judge changes established law, activism.

Traditional activist, OK. The Democrats have been waging a war on words as long as I can remember.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AJ Lynch said...

Have you noticed conservatives are very rarely referred to as activists? The word activist [which tends to have positive and favorable meanings and tones] is reserved, by the media and others, for libruls.

My perception is that activist, when applied to judges, has a very negative connotation. While it is far more often applied to liberal judges, I've seen liberals go to great lengths to try to apply the label to conservative judges too.

SGT Ted said...

The corrupt, crony corporatist and pro-nepotist Dianne Feinspend, like all leftists, mischaracterizes the term "activist judge" to support her desired political outcomes.

She is completely OK with judges legislating from the bench when it supports her desired political outcomes. She just doesn't like the nominees politics, so she will oppose him.

RecChief said...

But every good judge supposedly knows to leave political activism to the political sphere

Is that why, in every leftist position that comes before the Supreme Court, SC watchers count 4 liberal/leftist votes without a moment's reflection?

MadisonMan said...

Thanks for the explanation.

This is how things are supposed to work in the Govt -- each side bends a little.

I approve.

(I'm sure everyone is very happy to read that)

traditionalguy said...

That man must be a stone age creep. How could a political representative ever support marriage and oppose abortion and accept the flag? Hmmm?

That had to be the standard platform position of every political candidate in rural Georgia areas 10 years ago.

Boggs somehow managed to win a seat as a Democrat in the Georgia-Florida line cultural area around Waycross (near the Okefenokee Swamp) along I-75's run half way from Atlanta to the north and half way from Tampa to the south.

But Connecticut Democrats now want him burned him at the stake as a heretic.

Have a nice fire, guys.









Ann Althouse said...

"Conservative activist is an oxymoron. Doesn't make sense to try to change things TO status quo. Bad label."

That's why I wrote "an activist for a cause Democrats see fit to call 'conservatism.'"

I don't think Boggs's legislative record ought to be assumed to amount to "conservatism," especially the part about requiring doctors to put abortion-related information up on line.

kcom said...

"This is how things are supposed to work in the Govt -- each side bends a little.

I approve."

When you get beyond that, and neither side bends at all, and you are strictly in one camp or the other, then you're on the road to civil war.

Seeing Red said...

If they want to know what type of shampoo I buy, why shouldn't I know how many abortion procedures are performed. There are no names.....

Seeing Red said...

I should have added my license plate gets tracked....

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Diane Feinstein is a stupid bitch, and nobody should give any credence to anything that comes out of her mouth.

This kabuki theater of outrage is a complete waste of time.

garage mahal said...

Diane Feinstein is a stupid bitch, and nobody should give any credence to anything that comes out of her mouth.

Astounding legal analysis, Attorney Moms-Jeans. You mind if I borrow it?

kcom said...

"Astounding legal analysis, Attorney Moms-Jeans. You mind if I borrow it?"

Funny, I thought he borrowed it from you. :)

Mark said...

On judicial activism, I'm sure Boggs is 100%.

Skeptical Voter said...

Ah Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; to paraphrase the old advertising jingle for Rice-A-Roni "the San Francisco treat",
mesdames Feinstein and Boxer are the San Francisco twits. What did the United States ever do that justified California inflicting these two harpies on us? And as a special added bonus, we were given Nancy Pelosi.

chillblaine said...

"It's a compromise between the White House and the Republicans"

Well there's a first.

MadisonMan said...

If Obama can get the Govt back to functioning via compromise -- this could be a first step -- I would consider that a very major accomplishment of his administration that up to now has been lacking in them.

mtrobertsattorney said...

The activist liberal judge believes, as an article of faith, that the constitution is an evolving document. In other words, the meaning of the constitution is constantly evolving, and the art of judging is the ability to discern the direction of this evolution.

How this unusual ability is developed and how it works is never explained. And this leaves the skeptic with the suspicion that all this metaphorical evolution talk is just short hand for the judge's personal and subjective views on how society should be ordered.

And these views, more often than not, simply reflect the political and moral beliefs your stereotypical progressive liberal.

The upshot of all this is that there is no real limiting principle that will control the judicial power of the liberal activist judge. Whereas with a conservative jurist, the limiting principle is the original understanding of the language of the constitution.

garage mahal said...

If Obama can get the Govt back to functioning via compromise -- this could be a first step -- I would consider that a very major accomplishment of his administration that up to now has been lacking in them

We'll approve a conservative judge who likes Confederate flags. See, there. Compromise.

Anonymous said...

I suspect men like this are occasionally seen loping along the highways in Marin country or with cowboy hats taking pictures in SF City Hall before they're driven back into the mountains and farms.

n.n said...

Abortion is premeditated murder of a human being. Normalized abortion is state-sponsored genocide of over one million Americans annually. It is a "final solution" in the traditional sense. Carried out by people who do not perceive the humanity in others.

When and by whose choice does human life acquire value? When does human life become something more than a mere commodity? Why doesn't society have standing to prevent the usurpation of basic, inalienable human rights endowed to a wholly innocent boy or girl from Creation by an unprincipled woman? Why does a demand for population control justify normalization and commission of an unprecedented violation of human rights?

Women do not enjoy any special right to commit murder, other than that which escapes notice in the "back-alley".

The Left has a long history of tremendous bloodletting. It seems that Feinstein is either ignorant of her history or blind to its consequences. Never again, Feinstein. Women, and men, need to make better choices. They are no longer children, and cannot claim immaturity as a defense for their murderous conduct.

Anthony said...

Because the only reason anyone opposes Obama is because that person is a racist, it follows that Reid and Feinstein are racists.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You guys, obviously everything Republicans do is racist, right? But this guy is *really* racist, like, in a big way, racist-racist, you know?

David R. Graham said...

Our "activist" derives from the Chekist "active measures" (aktivnye meropriatia):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_measures

Has a myriad of forms these days, but all Chekist active measures by activists.

Paul Golba said...

Can't say it better than mtrobertsattorney.

Gahrie said...

We'll approve a conservative judge who likes Confederate flags. See, there. Compromise.

It'll make up for all the Liberal judges with Che posters in their chambers.

Anonymous said...

"But, of course, Feinstein and her co-Democrats do love their activist judges when they are liberal activist judges — whom they do not call activist judges."

Example: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed 96-3 (republicans can be really stupid)

Question, so will Boggs be borked?