For Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), saying one thing in the home state and doing the opposite in Washington, D.C. has been a routine occurrence. Each of these Democratic senators was elected by red-state voters, but has also been a reliable supporter of President Obama’s plans to appoint liberal activist judges to the second-most-important court in the country, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The D.C. Circuit is a strategic priority for President Obama because it is responsible for reviewing the decisions of agencies that have enormous influence over our economy, like the EPA, the IRS, and the NLRB. It has also decided important cases concerning the constitutionality of Obamacare in recent months, and will decide more cases about that law in the coming months.
Until now, the D.C. Circuit has made it clear that it is willing to put President Obama's agenda to the constitutional test. That courageous stand forced President Obama and his allies, like these three senators, to come up with a way to avoid judicial review by judges who understand and correctly apply the Constitution: they decided to pack the Court with radical judicial nominees.
One of these nominees, a Georgetown law professor named Nina Pillard, has written that abortion plays "a central role in freeing women from historically routine conscription into maternity." In Ms. Pillard’s mind, maternity is the equivalent of slavery, not a source of fulfillment and joy through which women play a central role in advancing culture and civilization. Sens. Landrieu and Begich, who voted for this radical, believe that she deserved to be on the second most important court in the country.
Although Sen. Pryor voted against final confirmation of Ms. Pillard after my organization ran an ad informing his Arkansas constituents about what he was up to, that was his very first vote — ever — against an Obama judicial nominee. And he repeatedly voted to bring Ms. Pillard’s nomination to the Senate floor. So, Sens. Pryor, Begich, and Landrieu: thanks to you, she is now Judge Pillard.
And the list goes on. All three supported the confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who voted against Second Amendment rights of armed self-defense and states' attempts to curb illegal immigration, and Justice Elena Kagan, an unabashed liberal who has been more than willing to decide issues on the basis of political preferences rather than the Constitution and the rule of law. These Justices voted to rubber-stamp Obamacare, forcing some Americans off of their health insurance plans and forcing others to purchase expensive plans. They also voted to require the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, labeling anyone who doesn't want to redefine marriage in this way as a bigot.
Sens. Begich, Landrieu, and Pryor even supported the failed nomination of Caitlin Halligan, who advanced a lawsuit against gun manufacturers as part of a broader effort to destroy the gun industry, for an influential position on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The sad thing is that all of these senators claim to be working for their constituents. Sen. Landrieu’s website, for instance, claims that she has been “fighting and winning for Louisiana since she was first elected to the Louisiana state legislature at the age of 23." Sen. Pryor likes to remind people that he maintains a sign on his desk stating "Arkansas comes first." And Senator Begich’s website tries to portray him as someone fighting the Obama administration at every turn.
In fact, each of these three senators knows that a vote for one of Obama’s judges is a vote for Obama’s agenda. That’s because on issues like energy independence, traditional marriage, and the future of Obamacare, the liberal judges he appoints will ultimately make the law, not follow it.
Severino is with the Judicial Crisis Network.