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 judiciary

I know, I know, politics is crass and cynical. But can't these guys even pretend not to be? Today, the Senate judiciary commitee, just barely controlled by the Democrats, denied Bush's nomination of conservative ideologue Priscilla Owen to the federal appeals court. "The Nation's judicial emergency has just grown worse," said Ari Fleischer.

Orrin Hatch, who was my senator back when I lived in Utah (where I was born and raised), was quick to declare the rejection a gross abuse of political power by the Democrats in control of the Senate Judiciary Commitee. Come on, Orrin. Hatch himself, the prior chairman of the commitee, prevented many, many, of Bill Clinton's nominations from even getting a committee vote, and as a matter of fact the current Judiciary Commitee has approved more of Bush's nominees than the prior commitee did in any comparable time period between 1996 and 2000. On the subject of political grousing over appointments, a recent Atlantic Monthly essay even argues that political litmus tests should be part of the confirmation process.

Everybody knows that it's political. The problem is when everybody pretends to be offended by the mere suggestion that that's the case. Come on, Orrin. You knew what you were doing two years ago. Now it's happening to you? Does anyone actually have sympathy?