As we reported earlier, four highly controversial nominees to the federal courts were resubmitted by President Bush right after the election. Now, we can happily report that none of those nominees – Michael B. Wallace, Terrence W. Boyle, Jr., William J. Haynes II and William G. Myers III– will be resubmitted to the new Senate. Wallace withdrew in December and the other three withdrew Tuesday. Marcia D. Greenberger, NWLC Co-President, had this to say following Tuesday’s announcement: “These three nominees were controversial for a reason – they were wrong for the job and wrong for the country. As we start a new year and a new Congress, the President should look to consensus nominees for future vacancies.”
These nominees were extremely controversial for varied reasons. NWLC opposed Wallace because his record presented troubling questions about his most basic commitment to equality under the law. Moreover, he was the first federal court of appeals nominee in almost 25 years to receive a unanimous “Not Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association due to concerns about his judicial temperament and bias. Judge Boyle drew criticism from NWLC for his rulings flouting anti-discrimination laws, his apparent violation of judicial ethics standards, and the large number of his decisions that were rejected and criticized by higher courts. Haynes’ central role in the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism detainee and interrogation policies caused many to question his respect for civil liberties. Finally, Myers’ past anti-environmental actions raised concern about whether he would faithfully enforce our environmental laws as a federal judge.
Fortunately, Senator Leahy’s vow to move forward only on consensus nominees as the new Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee seems to have convinced these four and President Bush that their records would not survive the scrutiny of the committee. Now, it’s up to the Judiciary Committee, under Chairman Leahy’s leadership, to ensure that future nominees to the judiciary get the scrutiny that the American people deserve to protect our hard won rights.