What can Brown do for you?

The United States Senate completed the Democratic sellout/implosion associated with the now-proven-to-be-totally-hollow threat of ongoing judicial filibusters against “extremist” conservative judges, by approving the nomination of California State Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown (56-43) to a for-life seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely viewed as the second most important court in the nation and a frequent springboard to the Supreme Court itself.
There are those of us of the view that most who don the black robe of a federal judge recognize the limitations of their judicial office: the principle of stare decisis binding a judge to established and binding precedents, the ability to make a determination only in the pending case, and so forth, and hence, other than arguably the Supreme Court, which is the only Court that can overturn Supreme Court precedents, ideological (as opposed to issues of character or professional experience or competence) grounds should just about never be a reason to reject a federal judge.
Of course, the Democratic Party campaigns every four years to a constituency whose only growth area is single females that they alone will stand up to protect the sanctity of Roe V. Wade (which, as we all know, was handed down from Mount Sinai) from those Republican extremists who might undermine the right to obtain abortion free of governmental restriction. While I have questioned whether this is an appropriate issue to make not merely the centerpiece of liberal ideology, but the only issue on which Democrats can stand together on (as opposed to, say, progressive taxation, or environmental protection, or, oh, not willy nilly entering large-scale military actions against nations posing no threat to us), it would, at least, be a consistent stand on something.
Except it isn’t. Joyce Rogers Brown, an African American self-described Christianconservative who is as “activist” a judge as it gets, opposes affirmative action, favors free land-grabs and corporate welfare for the powerful, and opposes abortion rights. And now she’s being kicked up to our nation’s premier intermediate appellate court where, as a relatively young woman (she’s 54, I believe), she would be a front-runner for any eventual Supreme Court opening, assuming this President Bush or the next President Bush is in office at the time of that opening (Justices Stevens and Rehnquist are in their 80’s).
Frankly, if her nomination is not deemed “extraordinary circumstances”, it’s hard to imagine what is, vis a vis “the filibuster deal” reached by seven Democrats that Harry Reid should have handled, and seven Republicans who secured the fall of the final domino marked “Democratic principle”. Nothing in “the deal” (which also gave us ideological righties Priscilla Owen and William Pryor seats on other federal appellate courts) prevents Republicans from invoking “the nuclear option” down the road. Frankly, an attempt by Democrats down the road to filibuster Joyce Rogers Brown herself may well be an appropriate time for that nuclear option: after all, she wasn’t “extraordinary circumstances” now, so a later filibuster attempt may be viewed (rightly) by Republicans as abrogation of the earlier “nuclear free” deal.
So here we go. I’m one of those sticks-in-the-mud who believes that, for the most part, the judiciary is a pretty instrinsically conservative branch by nature (think stare decisis) as it is, and while certainly individual judges can move the law in their own way, compared to, say, the legislative branch which is actually charged with legislation, or the now-all-powerful executive branch, let’s just say I’m not particularly worried about the occasional “extremist” judge as compared to, say, a President and Congress (both parties) blithely unconcerned with the nation’s fiscal integrity, environmental health, compliance with its own laws (such as those against torture, for example), actual security or international standing. That’s just me, of course.