Judge Wilkinson Asks Obama Administration Not to "Go For An Ideological Makeover" Of His Circuit:
In today's Washington Post, Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson has an op-ed advising the Obama Administration on what kind of people it should pick to join him on the Fourth Circuit. The gist of the essay is that Obama shouldn't nominate anyone too ideological:
I pray that coming appointments to our court will not cause the doors of communication and compromise to slam shut. A polarized 4th Circuit would bring no discernible public benefit. At the end of the day, it's not lines of battle; it's not us and them. Americans are in this together, and that includes the courts.
  Judge Wilkinson is an excellent judge, and I happen to agree with the opinions he expresses in the op-ed. But c'mon, is it too much to expect for the elected branches to do their jobs without judges weighing in? Nominating judges is the President's job, and confirming them is the Senate's. Sitting judges — and especially sitting judges generally affiliated with the opposite party as both the President and the majority of the Senate — have and should have no role in the process. As I said before when criticizing Justice Ginsburg, judges who want judicial independence must see it as a two-way street: If they want the elected branches to stay out of judicial business, they should stay out of the business of the elected branches.