Perhaps it’s time for Ted Olson to simply just make it official, switch parties and declare himself to be a Democrat. The man who helped successfully make the case in repeated hearings that George W. Bush won the state of Florida fair and square, and thus should be the 43rd President of the United States, has done a complete 180 degree turn with a somewhat delusional missive in the Wall Street Journal – declaring that Republicans should partake in a truce with Democrats over nominations to the Supreme Court and the federal bench.
Olson’s agenda may lie deeper than just the futile push to get a liberal such as Judge Merrick Garland confirmed by a Republican Senate majority to the Supreme Court. But, in so doing, he betrays either a serious case of selective memory or, worse, a brazen attempt to rewrite history.
The truce for which he advocates already happened with disastrous results. After brutal, dishonest, partisan attacks on Republican Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, Republicans called a truce and overwhelming (almost unanimously) confirmed both of President Bill Clinton’s nominees to the Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer by a vote of 87-9, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a former general counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, by a vote of 96-3.
For this gesture of good will, conservatives and Republicans were repaid a decade later with: the Democrats’ filibustering the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (where he would’ve been on track to be the nation’s first Latino Supreme Court Justice); and vicious attacks on President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, which reduced Alito’s wife to tears during the hearing. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) felt the need, on behalf of the entire Senate, to publicly apologize to her during the hearing.
Mr. Olson’s partisan pandering on behalf of Garland, under the guise of some nonsensical truce, is an attempt to steer attention away from the admission other liberals have freely expressed. None other than the New York Times has conceded a court with Garland would be, in the newspaper’s own words: “the most liberal in decades.”
The National Federation of Independent Businesses recently took the extraordinary step of opposing Garland’s nomination – the first time in its 73 history the NFIB has ever taken a position on a Supreme Court nominee – because its own analysis of Garland’s record gave the organization little choice. The NFIB found 90 percent of Garland’s rulings have gone against business; 77 percent of his rulings have gone in favor of government agencies or government regulations; and neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor organized labor have lost a case in his courtroom.
There was a time when Ted Olson valued the Constitution above all, but evidently he prefers a Supreme Court with a liberal majority that would likely all but write the Second Amendment out of existence with the stroke of a pen. Judge Garland’s record is so anti-Second Amendment that the National Rifle Association opposes his nomination, saying he would bring “the end of the fundamental individual right of law-abiding Americans to own firearms for self-defense in their homes.”
Republicans are right in opposing Garland, who would undoubtedly be a reliable fifth vote as part of a liberal majority on the Supreme Court for every meaningful case over the next several decades. Ted Olson once reliably opposed such foreboding prospects, now he embraces them. That does not mean America should do the same.
Jenny Beth Martin is president and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.