Obama nominee claimed primary job to 'write footnotes in the Constitution'Posted: November 12, 2009 11:35 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling Â© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced his plans to move forward as early as Monday with a confirmation vote on the pro-abortion appeals court nominee who ruled against praying "in Jesus' name" on the floor of the Indiana Legislature.
Reid said he plans to pursue a cloture process that would force a Senate vote on U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit if 60 senators vote for cloture.
Republicans have attempted to block a vote on Hamilton's nomination. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., called for a filibuster in April and May. Sessions recently sent a letter to several Republican legislators in opposition to Hamilton, warning that in more than a few instances, he "has used his position as a district court judge to drive a political agenda."
Sessions said Hamilton declared in a 2003 speech that a judge's primary job is "write footnotes in the Constitution" and said he believes "empathy" should sway a judge's decisions.
"This view evidences an activist judicial philosophy," Sessions warned. "Judges are not given the power to amend the Constitution or write footnotes to it."
Earlier this year, Hamilton defended that statement, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee, "the concept of the footnote implies what we're trying to do is not something new, but work out the details of how those principles (in the Constitution) apply to new situations."
Sessions noted that Hamilton denied a rabbi's plea to have a menorah as part of the Indianapolis Municipal Building holiday display in 1994. The 7th Circuit unanimously reversed the decision.
Also, in 2003, Hamilton struck down an Indiana informed consent law requiring women to receive information about risks and alternatives to abortion in the presence of a physician or nurse 18 hours before the procedure. Hamilton said the provision imposed an "undue burden" on women. His ruling was later dismissed by a panel of the 7th Circuit after appeal.
"In reversing, the 7th Circuit noted that Judge Hamilton had abused his judicial discretion," Sessions wrote.
Hamilton made yet another controversial ruling in the 2005 case Hinrichs v. Bosma. He ruled that the speaker of Indiana's House of Representatives could not allow "sectarian" prayers as part of its official proceedings. He said prayers that use "Christ's name or title" are sectarian, but he ruled in a post-judgment motion that it's not sectarian for a Muslim imam to offer a prayer to "Allah." In the post-judgment motion, he wrote:
The Arabic word 'Allah' is used for 'God' in Arabic translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures. If those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic Allah, the Spanish Dios, the German Gott, the French Dieu, the Swedish Gud, the Greek Theos, the Hebrew Elohim, the Italian Dio, or any other language's terms in addressing the God who is focus of the non-sectarian prayers â€¦ the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others. â€¦ Prayers are sectarian in the Christian tradition when they proclaim or otherwise communicate the beliefs that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, or the Savior, or that he was resurrected or that he will return on Judgment Day or is otherwise divine.
In the 2007 case United States v. Rinehart, Hamilton requested clemency for a 32-year-old police officer who pled guilty to two counts of child pornography. The officer said he had "consensual" sex with two teenagers and videotaped the incidents.
In 2008, Hamilton issued a ruling against a law requiring sex offenders to release personal information such as e-mail addresses and screen names, and to submit to regular search warrants.
Hamilton, a Yale graduate, served as vice president for litigation and a board member of the Indiana branch of the ACLU prior to becoming a federal judge. He also previously worked as a door-to-door fundraiser for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, a community organizing group currently riddled in scandal.
The White House has characterized Hamilton as a moderate pick.
"Judge Hamilton has a long and impressive record of service and a history of handing down fair and judicious decisions," Obama said in a March 17 statement when he announced Hamilton as his first judicial appointment. "He will be a thoughtful and distinguished addition to the 7th Circuit."
However, Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt of the Pray in Jesus Name Project is urging Americans to sign and fax petitions to all U.S. senators urging them to filibuster and defeat Hamilton's nomination.
"This is not the type of service that should be rewarded with promotion," Sessions wrote. "Indeed, this is one of those extraordinary circumstances where the president should be informed that his nominee is not qualified."