Within 45 minutes of the July 1st announcement by President Reagan that he had selected Robert Bork to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court Senator Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor and unleashed this fireball of hate. The speech was telecast live on national TV:
SEN. KENNEDY: "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice."Imagine if a GOP Senator dared to say anything so vile and inflammatory about Obama's nominee Sonia Sotomayer?
Kennedy's speech above signaled the start of a new campaign by Democrats to actively oppose nearly all nominees by a Republican President. We all recall how Senate Democrats routinely obstructed President Bush's appeals court nominees and that then Senator Obama voted against both Justices Alito and Roberts even though he admitted they were well qualified.
Liberal groups even went so far as to demand that Democrats oppose the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the appeals court because "he is latino." Democrats went on to filibuster Estrada who after months of waiting finally withdrew his name for consideration.
No Democrat has ever paid a price for the "Borking" of a GOP nominee. None of their support in the Hispanic community was diminished by blocking the nomination of Estrada or any other GOP nominee.
I'm not suggesting that the GOP mount a filibuster of Sotomayor. It would likely fail. But I also see no point in allowing this nomination to proceed without raising the troubling issues her nomination entails.
Senator Schumer (D-NY) and the White House are both warning the GOP that we risk damage to our party by opposing Sotomayer. Considering that no Dem has ever been held accountable for the vile campaigns they have waged against Republican nominees I don't find their threat credible.
Let's have a fair debate that doesn't pull any punches. Surely Democrats aren't afraid the American people may learn some uncomfortable truths about Sotomayor or the President who nominated her?