Last week, President Barack Obama traveled to Texas in an attempt to put pressure on Governor Rick Perry to agree to the Federal Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. His strong-arm tactics are troubling enough, but it’s what the President said about the Nation’s court system during the trip that should worry conservatives.
Obama called on Perry to join Republicans in Arizona, Ohio and Michigan in Medicaid expansion — though there is little possibility that Republican resistance to the President’s agenda will fade.
Prior to the President’s visit to his State, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued a statement imploring Obama to “take his broken promises tour elsewhere.”
“President Obama’s trip to Texas brings nothing with it but broken promises,” Cruz said. “He promised that Americans could keep their health care plans. We were told premiums would go down, that jobs would be created. And we now know these are all false promises.”
Cruz continued,“[I]n spite of all Texas has done to resist the biggest entitlement program of this generation, Obamacare is reducing health care options, increasing costs and hurting jobs. It has no place in Texas and must be repealed.
“President Obama should take his broken promises tour elsewhere so Texans can continue focusing on the solutions that have allowed our state to become and remain the nation’s economic and job creation powerhouse,” Cruz added.
Also on the President’s agenda for his trip to Texas last week was a stop at a Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in Dallas. It was there that the President said something that should be more striking to conservatives than his pleas for conservative States to roll over and accept liberal policies without a fight.
The President essentially noted his Administration’s efforts to take away one of the major ways conservatives have to fight legislation that they feel is unConstitutional.
“… [W]e are remaking the courts. I know that we’ve got some lawyers here, and here in Texas sometimes people feel a little frustrated about the pace of appointments here in Texas. But you should know that in addition to the Supreme Court, we’ve been able to nominate and confirm judges of extraordinary quality all across the country on federal benches,” the President said. “We’re actually, when it comes to the district court, matching the pace of previous presidents. When it comes to the appellate court, we’re just a little bit behind, and we’re just going to keep on focused on it.”
For conservatives who are holding their breath and waiting for a chance to replace the current White House with leadership that will obey the Constitution, the President’s remark is a somber reminder that the Obama agenda could live on for years.
Obama has only been responsible for just two Supreme Court appointments, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. But the current President has, so far, appointed 29 judges to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and 168 judges to Federal District Courts.
Obama’s next judicial appointment will make the number of Democrat-appointed Federal judges higher than the number of Republican appointed judges for the first time in more than five years.
Packing District and Appeals Courts will give Obama’s agenda an edge in setting judicial precedents in matters such as gun control, abortion, national security, immigration and other social and civil-liberty related issues long after this President vacates the Oval Office.
This week, a Senate showdown over Georgetown law professor Cornelia “Nina” Pillard’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is brewing. Republicans have been working to fight the nomination of her and two other judges to what is often considered to be the Nation’s second most powerful court.
“Georgetown law professor Nina Pillard, is the next up, the next victim of what the Republicans are doing here,” Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor Thursday. “She is qualified and dedicated, so it’s truly a shame that Republicans would filibuster this nomination for unrelated political reasons.”
Reid filed a motion on Thursday that sets up a confirmation vote for Pillard this week following the recent GOP filibuster blocking the nomination of Patricia Millett, another Obama appointment to the D.C. Appeals Court. Pillard and Robert Wilkins, Obama’s third nominee to the Court, are both expected to be blocked by members of the GOP.
Republicans say they are not blocking the nominations because of political ill will toward Obama or the individuals he selected for the job, but rather because the D.C. Appeals Court doesn’t require the additional judges at this time. Democrats say that Republicans are wrong about the court’s case load and have further said that the President has a Constitutional duty to fill empty seats.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) recently told USA Today, however, that the Democrats have another reason for increasing the number of loyal Obama appointees on the Court.
“The reason they want to put more judges on the D.C. Circuit is not because it needs them,” he said, going on to quote an Administration insider who said “the president’s best hope for advancing his agenda is through executive action, and that runs through the D.C. Circuit.”
Furthermore, groups like the liberal Media Matters For America are pining for more liberals on the court as well, saying, “Due to the court’s imbalance toward Republican nominees, progressive legislation at the core of federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board has become increasingly threatened …”
Obama’s overall judicial appointments coupled with the possibility that the GOP will be unsuccessful in keeping the three vacant seats on the D.C. Appeals Court from being filled, make it increasingly certain that while the current President will be gone in a few years, many of his policies will live on in various ways for the foreseeable future.