Right Wing Loons Rail Against Judge Hamilton

It seems the far right is having a conniption over President Obama’s first judicial nomination, as they have already started their full-court press against the guy.

Obama’s first nominee is US District Court Judge David F. Hamilton, who will be elevated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Hamilton has been on the district court in Indianapolis since 1994, when President Clinton nominated him, and was elevated chief judge last year. Before becoming a district court judge, he worked as general counsel to Evan Bayh, when Bayh was governor of Indiana, and served as chairman of the Indiana Ethics Commission.

Oh, and did I tell you he once served in the board of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union? What a bastard, huh? We simply can’t have such folks working in our court system and interpreting our laws, can we?

Well, apparently, the now-toothless Republican hit machine has decided to go after this guy. On the CBN News web site, a hack named David Brody writes a hit piece that starts with the following:

Maybe the Obama administration should have nominated George Hamilton instead of David F. Hamilton. The hollywood actor may have an easier time at confirmation.

Get it? Isn’t that cute the way he took Hamilton the actor and Hamilton the 15-year district court judge and…

Is there a right winger anywhere with a sense of humor? Seriously?

Of course Brody, being a right wing hack, doesn’t actually have a the balls to give his own opinion in his '”news story.” Instead, he quotes “liberally” from other right wing hacks, who offer up any number of lies and half-truths. (In fairness, perhaps it’s because he’s writing for the “Christian Broadcasting Network,” and he thinks other people lying for him is not the same as lying yourself; those people are pretty stupid, after all.)

For example, he quotes someone named Wendy Long, from something called the “Judicial Confirmation Network:”

Hamilton has a history as a hard-left political activist, and his choice signals that Obama does intend to push extreme liberals onto the bench and politicize the courts as we've never seen before.

Hamilton was a fundraiser for ACORN (nice ACORN payback, Mr. President) and served as vice president for litigation and a board member of the Indiana ACLU.  In 1994, when President Clinton nominated him to the district court, the ABA rated him as ‘not qualified,’ apparently because of his almost purely political (as opposed to legal and judicial) experience.

Now, we all know the term “extreme liberal” signals a right wing talking point. As one can tell from the name, the “Network” is a right wing front organization. You can tell by their sketchy “mission”-type statement. Check this out:

The Judicial Confirmation Network is an organization of citizens joined together to support the confirmation of highly qualified individuals to the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition, JCN works to ensure that the confirmation process for all judicial nominees is fair and that every nominee sent to the full Senate receives an up or down vote.

We believe that the qualifications desirable in a nominee include:

  • integrity
  • common sense
  • education and experience in the law; and
  • devotion to the Constitution

We believe that the proper role of a judge or justice is to interpret the law and the Constitution – not make up the law and deprive the people of the right to govern ourselves.

We believe that a judge or a justice should not use the power of the court to impose his or her personal or political agenda on the people.

Gosh, who could argue with that, right? I mean, we all want all of the above, don’t we? Only, Wendy Long is the counsel, and seems to be second-in-command of this Judicial Confirmation Network, and what she says seems to go against her right wing group’s stated mission. That’s so surprising, given the value the far right claims they place on “truth.” (Yes, wingnuts; that was sarcasm.)

How “fair” would a process be if it used an ABA evaluation from 15 years ago as a criterion for approval? How much “integrity” would a process have, if the Senate ignored the fact that he’s been a district court judge for 15 years, and was elevated to Chief  Judge last year? Wouldn’t that make his ABA evaluation from 1994 somewhat moot?

Doesn’t his involvement with the board of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union an indication of his “devotion to the Constitution”?

And how fair is it that Wendy Long essentially LIES about his ABA rating? Yes, the ABA rated him “not qualified.” But her suggestion, that the reason was “apparently because of his almost purely political (as opposed to legal and judicial) experience,” is pure bullshit. And isn’t that kind of strange for a person representing a group that puts “integrity” at the top of the list when it comes to process?

Apparently, Ms. Long never bothered to READ the ABA evaluation; she just assumed she knew what it said. Either way, That makes her a liar. Finding a copy of the evaluation wasn’t difficult (damn Internets!); here’s what it said:

After careful investigation and consideration, a majority of our Committee was of the view that Mr. Hamilton is “Not Qualified” for the appointment. Because of his limited number of years practicing at the bar, and his lack of trial experience, a majority of the Committee believes that he has not met the high standards we believe are necessary for a lifetime appointment to the Federal District Court. (…)

Our conclusion… is based on several factors. The Committee’s criteria… state: ‘Ordinarily a prospective nominee to the federal bench should have been admitted to the bar for at least 12 years.’

In other words, their concern was his relative youth (he’s 51 now, so he was only 36 when he was nominated). In the entire report, there was ZERO concern expressed over his politics; their only concern was over his lack of trial experience.

Brody – who, again, writes for the CHRISTIAN Broadcasting Network – also promotes “half-truths” (that’s being kind) from another right wing source, when he quotes Ed Whelan, President of the Ethics and Policy Center, a “think tank” which “was established in 1976 to clarify and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy issues.” Obviously, Whelan is a man who is obviously really into policy, but who finds the ethics to be something of a bother. And he’s obviously a right wing anti-choice clown, who’s looking for every wedge he can find to give the government autonomy over pregnant women. This is what Brody quoted:

It’s far from clear what justifies the (…) characterization of Hamilton as a “moderate”…Was it perhaps Hamilton’s service as vice president for litigation, and as a board member, of the Indiana branch of the ACLU? Or maybe Hamilton’s extraordinary seven-year-long series of rulings obstructing Indiana’s implementation of its law providing for informed consent on abortion? That obstruction elicited this strong statement (emphasis added) from the Seventh Circuit panel majority that overturned Hamilton:

For seven years Indiana has been prevented from enforcing a statute materially identical to a law held valid by the Supreme Court in Casey, by this court in Karlin, and by the fifth circuit in Barnes. No court anywhere in the country (other than one district judge in Indiana [i.e., Hamilton]) has held any similar law invalid in the years since Casey. Although Salerno does not foreclose all pre-enforcement challenges to abortion laws, it is an abuse of discretion for a district judge to issue a pre-enforcement injunction while the effects of the law (and reasons for those effects) are open to debate.

Or perhaps Hamilton’s inventive invocation of substantive due process to suppress evidence of a criminal defendant’s possession of cocaine, a ruling that, alas, was unanimously reversed by the Seventh Circuit?

With “moderates” like Hamilton, imagine what Obama’s “liberal” nominees will look like.

Yeah, okay; apparently, the mere disagreement by a higher court is now an indicator of a judge’s apparent “fitness” for the job?

Even if it was possible to make a salient point that Hamilton wasn’t qualified for the bench in 1994, that case simply can’t be made right now. And for the right wing’s information, Obama actually kept a campaign promise he made, to seek nominations for he court that had bipartisan support, and to consult with the state’s Congressional delegation before choosing a nominee, so he has the support of both Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar; a Democrat and a Republican.

Hamilton is not a political animal; he supports the Constitution, unlike right wing heroes Scalia and Thomas. It’s ironic that these clowns show such unerring support for political judges, but seem to loathe judges who ignore politics in favor of the actual Constitution.

Last year, Hamilton actually put the Constitution ahead of the law, when he struck down a an Indiana law requiring sex offenders to submit to routine and warrantless law enforcement monitoring of their Internet activity, by writing, "The prospect of searches 'at any time' without a search warrant, without probable cause, and without even reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, would dramatically impair the privacy these plaintiffs have the right to enjoy in their own homes under the Fourth Amendment.”

In other words, while these right wing clowns were supporting the government’s “right” to listen in on any phone call without probable cause or a warrant, this guy was going against the political grain, and putting the Constitution ahead of everything. And think about that; if the sex offender has already been caught and prosecuted, and finished his sentence, how hard would it be to get a warrant, should an actual crime have been committed at some future date? Why does the right wing find the Constitution so inconvenient? Isn’t protecting our rights under the First Amendment more important than making sure a perv isn’t looking at dirty pictures on the Internet?

In 2
005, he ordered the Indiana legislature to avoid mentioning “Jesus Christ” or using terms like “savior” during official prayers because they were “systematically sectarian” and therefore unconstitutional. That seems pretty “moderate,” because it allows prayer in the chamber, which should be forbidden by the First Amendment under any circumstances.

This guy is going to sail through the nominating process, and the far right wing will squeal like stuck pigs when it happens. They seem to be the only ones who don’t realize how completely screwed they are, politically speaking.

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