The judge who ruled that Obama’s recess appointments violated the constitution is a Jesse Helms crony who overturned the convictions of Oliver and John Poindexter and sided with Bush on indefinite detentions.
Judge David Bryan Sentelle was first appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan. Sentelle history of right wing activism from the bench was detailed by Will Stabley, “However, Sentelle was promoted to the United States Appeals Court shortly after, as a circuit court judge, he voted to overturn the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter – two key Reagan aides who had been found guilty in the Iran Contra scandal. This seeming tit for tat between Sentelle continued as he appointed Kenneth Starr to the role which Starr would go on to use in his overtly aggressive impeachment case against democrat Bill Clinton…Sentelle then went on to side with republican George W. Bush on the issue of indefinite detention without the right to trial, in a controversial ruling which saw even a fellow judge on his own panel dissenting against him.”
Sentelle has been described as a crony of Jesse Helms. He is also a member of the Federalist Society a group that describes itself and its role as, “Law schools and the legal profession are currently strongly dominated by a form of orthodox liberal ideology which advocates a centralized and uniform society. While some members of the academic community have dissented from these views, by and large they are taught simultaneously with (and indeed as if they were) the law. The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.”
In short, David Sentelle is the poster boy for right wing judicial activism.
Mainstream media reports of the story have quoted Sentelle’s ruling, but have failed to mention his right wing activism from the bench. The fact that Sentelle would rule in favor of Bush’s unprecedented expansion of executive powers on indefinite detentions, but would the rule against the precedent of 150 years of recess appointments illustrates the partisan nation of Sentelle’s judicial philosophy.
The right wing is celebrating this ruling because it feeds into their delusion that Obama is an illegitimate president who has no respect for the constitution. The reality, which the media is happily ignoring, is that a right wing judicial hack ruled based on nothing more than partisan politics.
This ruling illustrates why the filibuster reform that was agreed to this week matters. President Obama has 33 judicial nominees that are being blocked by Senate Republicans. The filibuster reform will allow Harry Reid to finally push some of these appointments through the Senate. The right wing has turned the judicial system into a conservative policy making establishment.
The real headline of this story should have read, “Hack Right Wing Judicial Activists Rule Obama Violated the Constitution,” but the truth rarely makes for a sexy headline. Instead, the media has chosen to maintain their ignorance under the disguise of “objectivity.”
Instead of being a serious legal ruling this decision was yet another partisan attack on the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency, but right wing judicial activism is a subject that the media refuses to discuss.