Quin Hillyer: Mary Landrieu courts cultural leftists

If Louisianians want radical-leftist judges in federal courts, they will vote this fall to re-elect Mary Landrieu to the Senate. If they want judges who won’t rule in favor of bankrupting gun companies, won’t denigrate patriotism, won’t support extreme racial preferences and won’t coddle terrorists by providing them all the legal rights of U.S. citizens, then they’ll end Landrieu’s 18-year Senate career.

On some issues, Landrieu does well at playing the political moderate. And on energy issues, she acts downright conservative — except when giving loads of PAC money to liberal Democrats who oppose Louisiana’s interests on every energy vote — and she did truly excellent work to ensure that future offshore oil revenues will be more generously shared with Gulf Coast states. That’s one reason some Republican businessmen, especially ones who benefit from federal contracts, are starring in current commercials for the consummate political insider.

But with the courts providing the Constitution’s last defense against the ravages of the Obama administration’s radical agenda, Landrieu marches in lockstep with the president on judges — just as she did the same with the leftists who blocked manifestly qualified nominees of former President George W. Bush.

Landrieu set her own standard for judges back in 2003 when, after she allowed Spanish language ads to boast that she supported manifestly qualified Bush nominee Miguel Estrada, she instead joined in filibustering the nomination to death, demanding Estrada release internal legal memoranda that every living solicitor general of both parties said should not be released. Likewise, solely on ideological grounds, she voted against the nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, a distinguished graduate of Northeast Louisiana University and Tulane Law School — ignoring pleas from black Alabama liberals who said Pryor was a superbly fair-minded nominee.

Indeed, Landrieu opposed a number of other Bush nominees — and her supposedly “moderate” work, as a member of the so-called “Gang of Fourteen,” also helped Democrats permanently filibuster several other nominations (although it did allow Pryor to be confirmed, over her “nay” vote).

When the shoe was on the other foot, Landrieu obeyed the dictates of Majority Leader Harry Reid. Ignoring her earlier position, they changed the rules and disallowed filibusters against President Obama’s radical nominees. She then voted for every single nominee — even one for a top Justice Department post who was so outlandish that several of her fellow Democrats helped vote him down. The latter, Debo Adegbile, was adamantly opposed by six of the nation’s largest law-enforcement associations because he chose to handle appeals for brutal, convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Maoist Black Panther who blamed his imprisonment on systemic racism.

Landrieu voted for two Obama judicial nominees whose names eventually were withdrawn for lack of support: Goodwin Liu — who advocated for reparations for slavery and has written A) that foreign law can be cited as “authority” in American courts, B) that a judge should act as “a culturally situated interpreter of social meaning,” and C) that judges should create and enforce a constitutional right to welfare — and Caitlyn Halligan, whose leftist positions included advocacy of holding gun manufacturers financially liable when their products are misused, a policy described as so expensive as to be “more than enough to drive every major gun maker into bankruptcy many times over.”

With Landrieu’s support, the Senate did eventually confirm nominee Edward Chen.

His record included expression of distress at hearing “America the Beautiful” at a funeral because he had “feelings of ambivalence and cynicism when confronted with appeals to patriotism”, whose early response to 9/11 was to worry it would exacerbate racism and who wrote that judges should draw upon their racial identities when deciding cases. Chen even tried to block permission for a sheriff’s deputy, justly concerned about his own health, to require that a man who bit him be tested for AIDS.

To Mary Landrieu, Bill Pryor should have been defeated because he argued that one tiny part of the Violence Against Women Act was unconstitutional — a position upheld by the Supreme Court — but nominees who defend cop killers and sneer at “America the Beautiful” should be confirmed. To say the least, Landrieu’s ideological litmus tests are remarkably skewed — to the obvious detriment of real justice.

New Orleans native Quin Hillyer is a contributing editor for National Review. You can follow him on Twitter, @QuinHillyer. His email address is Qhillyer @theadvocate.com.