December 21, 2007

On Judges: Huckabee or Romney?

There is a good article by Manuel Miranda at The Conservative Voice on the issue of judicial nominations. Mr. Miranda was counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and senior counsel to Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch:

The choice between Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney is an easy one for me.

Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts on judicial nominations is abysmal. His conduct was either an abdication of duty or a complete disregard of the importance of a governor's role in that state's nominations process. By contrast, Governor Huckabee not only left the Arkansas judiciary better than he found it, but he also vigorously supported the President's Arkansas nominees to the federal bench. Excellent nominees, like Leon Holmes who Democrats obstructed for years. As soon as Holmes was confirmed, colleagues elected him Chief Judge.

You and I know the importance of the judge issue. As Senator Jeff Sessions once told me, "Nobody polls on it, but its what everyone wants to talk about."

We need to make sure that Republican president understands this issue without wavering and without any populist tendencies. Mitt Romney is not that man, I believe Mike Huckabee is someone who can be trusted on the judicial nominations.

First, Mike Huckabee has been unwavering on his understanding of abortion as the defining public policy issue of our generation. Mitt Romney's record is not similarly comforting. Mr. Romney defends his former pro-abortion choice position (and presumably his wife's donation to Planned Parenthood) by reminding us that President Reagan and George H. W. Bush were also converts to the pro-life cause. I reject the comparison.

Like many Americans between 1973 and 1980, Reagan and Bush came late to understanding what Roe vs. Wade had wrought. Even the Southern Baptist Convention initially supported abortion rights. Not Mike Huckabee.

Unlike Reagan and Bush, it took more than thirty years of public debate throughout his adult life for Mitt Romney to reach the right conclusion about abortion. If even President George W. Bush could falter in understanding his mandate, I cannot trust Mitt Romney's judgment.

Romney reminds me too much of Orrin Hatch but not because the two are Mormons. Hatch was a liberal Democrat when he lived in Pittsburgh, but when he moved to Utah he ran as a conservative. Paul Weyrich has reminded us that just a few days after his election, Hatch was running away from the conservative label, until Reagan made it safely popular to be one.

Second, unlike Mr. Huckabee, Mr. Romney has shown no courage or diligence in judicial nominations. Mr. Huckabee would not need on the job training. He will need no guidance in connecting the dots between the federal judiciary and all of the most defining issues of our public policy discourse since prayer-in-the-schools or even before that Dredd Scott.

3 comments:

Keith Miller said...

Hey guys,

Love your work for Huck, but I'm wondering what you think about this story? Sounds like Huckabee doesn't understand why Lawrence v. Texas--based on the same legal principles as Roe v. Wade--was wrongly decided.

That worries me.

Keith in NY

Keith Miller said...

Didn't include my link last time: click here.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the author of this column doesn't actually qualify her claim that Romney will nominate poor judges.

She claims, "Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts on judicial nominations is abysmal. His conduct was either an abdication of duty or a complete disregard of the importance of a governor's role in that state's nominations process". Yet reading through the rest of the article the only reason why is because of Mitt's position change on abortion.

However if you look closely at Mitt's record as governor you see a clear pro-life track record. Sure Huck has been a pro-lifer for longer, but that doesn't make him "more pro-life". If the pro-life movement is unwilling to accept converts into its ranks how can we expect to grow the cause?