We have heard very little from Republicans over Barack Obama’s judicial picks (although there have not been many of them), but we should have heard a lot more about his appointment of federal judge David Hamilton to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate confirmed Hamilton by an almost straight party-line vote of 59-39 with fellow Indianan Richard Lugar the sole Republican defector. The New York Times assured us in March that Judge Hamilton was a moderate — a sure sign that he is both a left-wing ideologue and supremely unqualified for the appellate court. Ed Whalen wrote about Hamilton’s strange views of sectarian and non-sectarian prayer at Bench Memos; suffice it to say that an Imam invoking the name of Allah might not be sectarian according to Judge Hamilton, although any mention of Jesus Christ in a public setting is strictly verboten. Elsewhere, he has been called the “anti-Jesus judge” who has worked with the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Association and fund raised for ACORN. In another post, Whelan noted that NARAL Pro-Choice America’s support of Hamilton was unsurprising given his “extraordinary seven-year-long series of rulings obstructing Indiana’s implementation of its law providing for informed consent on abortion” — which was unanimously over-turned by the court he now joins. More information about his jihad against pro-lifers is available from Americans United for Life, an organization that rightly considers Judge Hamilton so odious that they will consider how senators voted on his confirmation on their scorecards of legislators. If you are looking for non-socially conservative reasons to oppose Hamilton, read Whelan’s analysis of the judge’s views on due process.
Conservative activists and scholars have done their job scrutinizing Hamilton and Republicans duly voted against him, but they all needed to do more. A lot more. They need to bolder in their opposition to the most unqualified judicial appointments. They might not win, but their timidity is guaranteed not to convince electorally vulnerable Democrats to vote against Obama’smost radical judicial appointments. That’s why AUL’s notice to senators that this would be a rateable vote was so important. It would have been better if they had more support in aggressively opposing the worst Obama appointees.
Oswald Clark is the economics reporter for The Interim and an Ottawa and Boston based economist.