“There is no justification for allowing the blocking of nominees who are well qualified and broadly supported,” Cheney said. “The tactics of the last few years, I believe, are inexcusable, particularly when you are dealing with men and women of the caliber of those nominated by George W. Bush. By any standard of judicial merit, they are fully qualified to serve and by any standard of fairness, they deserve a vote in the United States Senate.”
Democrats say it is Cheney who is trying to reinvent Senate history by changing the filibuster rules.
“The White House has always wanted to reduce the Senate’s power and the fact that Vice President Cheney is encouraging this abuse of power should strengthen the Senate’s resolve to resist,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
One of the previously-rejected and newly-resubmitted nominees is Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen. Among the critics of this "well qualified and broadly supported" nominee? Alberto Gonzales. Read on:
As White House Counsel and spokesman for the Bush administration’s legal policy, Alberto Gonzales has, not surprisingly, defended the nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the Fifth Circuit, claiming that she is "superbly qualified" and minimizing their differences when both served on the state supreme court. Measured by their opinions when they were both on the court, however, Gonzales’ view was very different just a few years ago.
Although they served together for a relatively short time in 1999-2000, Gonzales wrote or joined more than a dozen opinions sharply criticizing opinions written or joined by Owen on the court. In most of these cases, Gonzales, a strong conservative on the court, was part of the majority that rejected ultra-conservative Owen dissents as ignoring the plain meaning of the law or otherwise engaging in improper judicial activism to try to reach a particular result. In what could be a close vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Owen’s nomination, the decisive factor could be the concern that Owen has allowed her ideology to get in the way of her responsibilities as a judge.