Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:
The hijacking of the federal judiciary by the Republican Party – through the appointment of aggressive partisan judges combined with preventing votes on nominations by Democratic presidents – is the hidden cancer on US government. The sudden nixing of recess appointments last week by a DC appellate court panel of three Republican-appointed judges (in this case Obama filling empty National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seats and appointing Richard Cordray to chair the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a recess to circumvent endless Republican sabotage in the Senate) is symbolic of the macro-subversion of justice through manipulation of the federal bench, including, of course the Supreme Court. [...]
Enter David Sentelle, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Not only is the DC appellate court the most powerful in the land, it is essentially the pre-trial hearing ground for government cases before they reach the Supreme Court (if the Supreme Court chooses to hear an appeal).
Last week, Sentelle headed the three-judge panel that voided the NLRB and CFPB appointments. As we know, unlike elected officials, federal judges are appointed for life (unless they are impeached by Congress, resign or die). [...]
But to revisit just a few of Sentelle's GOP water carrying rulings, we can start with his leading the overturning of the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter as obtained by Lawrence Walsh, independent prosecutor for the Iran-Contra scandal.
Sentelle changed the course of US history when he appointed Ken Starr to oversee the so-called Whitewater investigation of the Clintons. [...]
Who then supervised Ken Starr?, Why a federal DC appellate court special division headed by Sentelle – which allowed Starr to proceed on an investigation that had morphed into what Joe Conason and Gene Lyons called in a must-read book: "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton." Clinton would have never been impeached if it were not for Sentelle carrying out the political dirty work of Helms and Faircloth on behalf of the Republicans on Capitol Hill. [...]
The calamitous impact of the strategic long-range control of the top levels of the federal bench by Republicans continues unabated.
A Januray 5 Los Angeles Times article, "Obama struggles to nominate, confirm federal judges," notes...
[Obama] has had fewer judges confirmed than any first-term president in a quarter of a century, and he is the first chief executive unable to appoint anyone to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides challenges to federal regulations.
This is also true of appointments to regulatory agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board and the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [...]
Given Harry Reid's cave on filibuster reform, relief does not appear to be on the way -- for either judiciary or regulatory appointments.
Please read the rest here.