Over at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan has this incisive critique of a recent David Savage article on Bush’s legacy regarding the judiciary. Ed says: “Alas, the article’s prognosis is severely flawed, and its statistics are misleading.”
For example, Savage says:
And despite the Republicans’ loss of control of the Senate, 40 of Bush’s judges won confirmation this year, more than in the previous three years when Republicans held the majority.
But Ed notes:
Of the 40 judges who were confirmed in 2007, only six were federal appellate judges. More importantly, Savage’s comparison of 2007 to previous years somehow ignores the unprecedented measures of obstruction—filibusters and return of nominees during intrasession recesses—that Senate Democrats employed when in the minority. A more instructive comparison would be between the number of federal appellate nominees confirmed during President Clinton’s second term (all with a Republican majority in the Senate)—35—and the number confirmed so far during President Bush’s second term—22, with less than a year to go.
Kind of leaves you with kind of a different impression from the one Savage seeks to convey, huh?
Read it all, and see how the L.A. Times employs lies, damned lies, and statistics in the service of a leftist view of the state of the judiciary.
P.S. That said, I agree with the part of Savage’s article that praises Bush’s work on the judiciary. It’s one of the few things he’s done consistently right — and even when he made a huge mistake (Harriet Miers), he was (eventually) willing to listen to the complaints (OK, screeching, wailing, and teeth-gnashing) of those of us who disagreed with his choice. Roberts and Alito were just excellent picks, and overall he has done a fantastic job — especially given the lack of support he has received from so many gutless Republicans in the Senate.