The Plank

Oh, How Conveeeenient

In today's Washington Post, conservative judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III appeals for an ideological truce in appointments that just happens to coincide with the exact moment Democrats have retaken the nominating power:

So the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is set for a takeover.
Popular commentary has it that the court, on which I serve, is a
fortress or bastion or citadel of conservatism. Discussion of coming
changes suggests more the fruits of a successful military campaign than
the result of an election giving our new president the right to
nominate members to a judicial body. 
... With the new numbers in the Senate, the temptation is there to go for an ideological makeover.

Yet the tempting course would prove a misguided one.

If you're wondering whether Wilkinson wrote a similar op-ed at the start of, or any time during, the Bush administration, the answer is no, he didn't.

Wilkinson also writes, "ideology should not be the foremost criterion for selecting a judge.
Many people may not believe it, but judges are not politicians in robes." Tell that to the five justices who decided to be Republican precinct captains in 2000.

--Jonathan Chait

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