The second judicial nomination by President Obama, Judge Hamilton of Indiana, demonstrates the precise kind of bias that Obama expects and will look for in his nominees for all federal courts, including the Supreme Court. The critical and unfortunate aspects are that Hamilton has demonstrated the kind of bias in a judge that Obama has pledged to seek in his judicial picks.
The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from a column on 11May on FortWayne.com. The title is, "Judge Hamilton's confirmation to 7th Circuit Court should be stopped."
The column notes the following aspects about Judge Hamilton: When he was appointed by President Clinton, even the American Bar Association rated him as "unqualified." Hamilton once was a fund-raiser for ACORN, now and for many years past under investigation or convicted of various kinds of election law crimes.
Hamilton also was a Board Member for the Indiana ACLU and at one time was its Director of Litigation.
Among Judge Hamilton's cases were a recent ruling that the Indiana Legislature may not open its sessions with any prayer that refers to "Jesus." However, in his view, prayers that mention "Allah" would be permitted. This is contrary to the conclusions of many federal courts, including the Supreme Court, that legislatures may open their sessions with prayers by religious people as selected by the state legislature or Congress.
For eight years, Hamilton held up an Indiana statute which required that women seeking abortions should be informed of alternatives. His conclusion was ultimately reversed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the court to which President Obama has now nominated Hamilton.
Judge Hamilton has demonstrated that he is willing to use his position as an unelected judge to strike down laws that he personally dislikes, and to promote laws that he personally prefers. He acts like a legislator, not a judge, and in doing that he violates the constitutional restrictions on all judges and Justices.
In short, Judge Hamilton demonstrates the kind of intentionally biased judiciary that President Obama made plain that he preferred. Obama did not use the word "bias," but he said that his appointments should be "empathetic" to certain parties in court, and necessarily to be less empathetic to other parties. That means the judge would be biased.
The column barely touches on the odds of Hamilton's confirmation. He will be recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee. He will almost certainly be confirmed by the US Senate. All of Obama's nominees to various federal courts, including the Supreme Court, can also expect to be recommended by the Committee and confirmed by the Senate, regardless of, or because of, their demonstrated bias on other courts prior to their Obama nomination.
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