Senator Orrin Hatch takes exception to the New York
Times' criticism of his record as chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, and he wrote a letter to the editor to object. (2-19) The
Times had complained that Republican Senators have "politicized" the
judicial confirmation process by not confirming enough of Clinton's
Not so, says Hatch, and he has the numbers to
prove it. He proudly asserts that the Senate has confirmed 202 of
Clinton's judges. That's more than President Bush's (194), more than
President Reagan's (164), and more than President Nixon's (191) during
each of their first terms.
Hatch added, "None of these judges would
have been confirmed without Republican cooperation."
It is not only
shocking that Republican Senators have cooperated in confirming
Clinton's 202 federal judges, but it is just as shocking that Orrin
Hatch is bragging about it. In allowing themselves to be coopted by
Bill Clinton, Republican Senators have failed to accept their
constitutional "advice and consent" responsibilities.
judges appointed by Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are the biggest
threat to constitutional self government today. These activist judges
have been writing liberal opinions into the law, usurping legislative
functions, and depriving Americans of our rights of self-
On November 15, Senator Hatch made a speech to the
Federalist Society in which he said, "Those nominees who are or will
be judicial activists should not be nominated by the President or
confirmed by the Senate, and I personally will do my best to see to it
that they are not." Sounds good, doesn't it.
But Senator Hatch and
Republican leader Bob Dole enthusiastically confirmed Clinton's most
activist Supreme Court nominee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her Supreme Court
opinion forcing Virginia Military Institute to admit women is typical
feminist judicial extremism and was wholly predictable at the time of
Where were Orrin Hatch and Republican Senators then?
They didn't even ask Ginsburg any questions about her own published
writings in support of radical feminist goals to fundamentally change
Instead of cooperating in confirming Clinton's
judges, Republicans should be talking about impeaching the Clinton and
Carter judges who have been usurping legislative and executive
functions. Article III states that "The Judges, both of the Supreme
and inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior,"
and it is not "good behavior" to hand down rulings based on personal
social views rather than the Constitution's words.
David Barton of
the Texas-based organization called WallBuilders has just published a
scholarly handbook called "Impeachment," in which he lays out the
constitutional foundations for using impeachment to curb our present
overactive judiciary. The Constitution contains six clauses about
The House of Representatives has the sole power of
impeachment (the presentation of formal charges). The Senate has the
sole power to try impeachments, and conviction requires a two-thirds
vote. Punishment can be removal from office or removal plus a bar
against future office-holding.
Contrary to current popular
misconceptions, impeachment is not a criminal proceeding, and Congress
cannot impose civil or criminal penalties. The offense for which a
judge may be impeached does not have to be a crime or have any
statutory or criminal basis.
Barton quotes numerous Founders to prove
that they viewed impeachment as a remedy for a broad range of non-
statutory offenses such as (in George Mason's words) "attempts to
subvert the Constitution," or (in Alexander Hamilton's words)
"violation of some public trust."
Even that great advocate of
judicial power, Chief Justice John Marshall, wrote during impeachment
proceedings against Justice Samuel Chase, for his arbitrary use of
judicial power, that "a Judge giving a legal opinion contrary to the
opinion of the legislature is liable to impeachment." Carter and
Clinton judges are constantly making rulings contrary to what the
All the impeachment cases brought during our
first half-century involved non-statutory offenses, such as "judicial
high-handedness." It's easy to think of some current judges who could
be targets for impeachment on that charge.
When President Gerald Ford
was a Congressman, he proposed the impeachment of Supreme Court
Justices William O. Douglas. Ford explained Congress's tremendous and
far-reaching power of impeachment: "An impeachable offense is whatever
a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a
given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or
offenses two-thirds of the other body [the Senate] considers to be
sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from
In our intricate constitutional system of interlacing checks
and balances, the legislative and executive branches are held
accountable by frequent elections. Judges should be held accountable
by the Senate's "advice and consent" power to withhold confirmation,
and by the House's power to impeach judges for lack of "good