Monday, March 14, 2016

Upholding the Constitution

A week ago I wrote about the Senate Judiciary Committee vowing they will beat up a Supreme candidate so thoroughly they will "bear some resemblance to a piñata." That threat may not be carried out by senators.

Ian Millhiser of Think Progress reports that the Judicial Crisis Network has hired an opposition research team to dig up dirt on any candidate and unleash a string of attack ads. Joan McCarter of Daily Kos reports other conservative groups are also involved and the Republican National Committee will coordinate the effort. Judge Jane Kelly is rumored to be on the short list of nominees and an attack ad on her has already been aired.

According to the definitions of JCN dirt will be very easy to find. Here's what they found on Kelly: as part of her previous job of Public Defender she defended Casey Frederiksen in a federal child pornography trial. He had a stash of over 1000 images. At a later time Frederiksen was convicted of killing a 5 year old girl (Kelly did not represent him in this case).
Mr. Frederiksen committed horrible offenses. But in this country, our Constitution does not permit the state’s awesome power to lock someone away in prison to be brought to bear upon anyone until they have received an adequate defense. Before becoming a judge, Kelly spent her career helping ensure that this oft-ignored right means something.
We can tell this right is "oft-ignored" because public defenders offices are usually underfunded and in New Orleans the public defenders office now has to turn away clients.

Judge Kelly's crime in the eyes of JCN: upholding the Constitution.
When groups like JCN make villains out of people who [serve as public defenders], it discourages others from following in Kelly’s footsteps. And our constitutional rights will suffer as a result.
Judge Kelly sounds like a terrific person, one I'd be delighted in replacing Scalia. JCN sounds like scum.

A Daily Kos commenter reminds us that nominees are probably already a federal judge with lifetime tenure. So what if the GOP treats them like a piñata? They still have a job to go back to, a job writing progressive rulings that won't be overturned by a 4-4 Supremes. And while in the public spotlight they have a chance of highlighting GOP idiocy. Why not go for it?

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