Reagan Assails Senate for Not Confirming 28 Judges
President Reagan, faced with a Congress rushing toward adjournment, pressed Friday for confirmation of 28 nominees to federal court seats before the presidential election dooms the nominations and turns the vacancies over to his successor to fill.
In a speech to a conservative lawyers’ group, Reagan tied the nation’s war on drugs and other crime issues to political concerns as the presidential election approaches.
At the same time, the White House made public a report to Reagan, prepared by his staff, on the impact federal policies and programs have on a wide variety of social issues, focusing on the family-oriented issues around which conservatives have rallied.
Although Reagan barely strayed from the White House and never mentioned either presidential candidate, the day’s activities kept the President’s agenda focused firmly on the campaign. He portrayed the election as a choice between the conservative social issues he has promoted and liberalism, which he called “the Masked Marvel of American political discourse.”
Reagan’s rhetoric was dominated by his attack on the Senate’s failure to confirm 28 men and women he has nominated to fill vacancies on the federal courts. In a speech to the Federalist Society, he said the Senate was responsible for a declaration of a “judicial emergency” by the courts’ administrative body, the Judicial Conference, over the the long-standing vacancies.
Liberals, Reagan said, “charge that we’re running a phony war on drugs. Well, I have a hunch that in November, the American people will decide who’s bogus and who’s for real.”
Urges Senate to Act
“The Senate could help us in this and our other battles against crime by bestirring itself and acting on the 28 judicial nominations that we have submitted but that have not yet been confirmed,” he said.
The President, who said “some of our nominees have been waiting for a year,” specifically blamed the delay on liberals in Congress.
“Yes, they are hoping that, within a few months, they can wipe the slate clean and nominate judges who reflect their values and vision of the law,” Reagan said. Congress is aiming to adjourn in early October and any nominations not acted upon by adjournment would have to be resubmitted by the next President.
Cites Three Vacancies
Among the vacancies cited by the White House in a separate statement were three, including one dating to 1986, on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is in San Francisco and has 28 seats.