Sunday, June 19, 2005

God bless America, land that I love

In the middle of the desert, there is a flower blooming. I have had a lot to complain about, watching the lifeless Washington landscape, seared by partisan conflict. I may sound grumpy but, you know what?, I'm right. You need to be grumpy when your elected officials have abdicated their responsibility to the common good. But there is also a time for joy and due praise. Senators Bob Nelson and Mel Martinez of Florida, a Democrat and Republican, are reestablishing a joint judicial nominating commission to review federal judiciary appointments coming from Florida. They will find candidates who can appeal to both of them, in terms of ideology and professional qualification. It is an excellent answer to the sort of question asked of them by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis of Tallahassee:
why a party would select judges who appear to have extremist views when those people would probably take extremist positions on the bench instead of assuring an independent judiciary.
The spirit of compromise and consensus, embodied in this decision, echoes the procedure laid down by the Memorandum of Understanding that the President must consult the Senate in the act of choosing his judicial nominees. This is the full and proper affirmation of the advise-and-consent clause of the US Constitution. Americans should urge their Senators to adopt a similar democratic and moderate practice in selecting nominees from their state. I hope the White House is paying attention too.

Bob Graham, the former Senator from Florida, a man I admire, gave this the proper emphasis. He was asked to answer a question about the fact that Senator Martinez's office called the Terry Schiavo tragedy 'a great political issue.' He refused and said that he preferred to concentrate on the two Florida senators working together.
"There are some important issues that are coming and one of them is the question of how do we go about selecting our federal judges in Florida. Really going back to the time when Lawton Chiles was relatively new in the Senate, our two senators have seen this as a joint responsibility. We've done this when there was a Republican president and a Democratic president and when there was a Republican Senate and a Democratic Senate. That's been the tradition that's served the state well, and I am going to try to maintain a position to allow me to be constructive in encouraging that."
The high road gets you where you want to go a lot faster than the low.


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