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A bipartisan Washington begins with Obama's judicial appointments

Partisan divisions have gotten the US nowhere.

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President-elect Barack Obama vowed in his campaign to reduce the toxic partisanship that has poisoned the federal government. One critical way to make good on this promise and provide an antidote to longstanding toxicity is through bipartisan judicial appointments.

Accusations and countercharges, partisan division and incessant paybacks have punctuated the choice of judges for 20 years. They've gotten the US nowhere.

Democrats accused President Bush of tapping ideologically conservative nominees who were not consensus picks and refusing to consult senators from the states where vacancies arose prior to submitting nominees. Mr. Bush actually nominated several candidates multiple times, even after GOP senators had clearly opposed the individuals.

Republicans contended that Democrats did not promptly assess Bush administration nominees or expeditiously schedule Judiciary Committee hearings and votes or Senate floor debates and votes. Indeed, the 110th Senate's Democratic majority granted no hearings to many appeals court nominees.

A plethora of reasons suggests why the nascent Obama administration should not cave into any pressure that might come from the Democratic majority or the Republican minority but, rather, cultivate bipartisanship in judicial selection.


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