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Bush flags judicial nominees in Republican electoral pitch

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush [JURIST news archive] urged voters at campaign rallies in Montana and Nevada Thursday to vote Republican so that the Senate can continue to confirm key judicial nominees "who will not legislate from the bench." Bush pointed to Chief Justice John Roberts [OYEZ profile; JURIST news archive] and Justice Samuel Alito [OYEZ profile; JURIST news archive] to the US Supreme Court as examples of "good judges" that have been approved by a Republican-controlled Senate. Roberts was confirmed to the US Supreme Court [JURIST report] last year, but a previous nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was blocked by the Senate when it was controlled by Democrats.

In remarks [transcript] at a campaign rally in Nevada, Bush said:

So when you cast your ballot on Tuesday, your vote will ... determine what kind of judges sit on federal benches around the United States. At this moment, there are about 50 vacancies on the federal bench, and so it's vital to maintain a Republican Senate, so we can confirm the men and women I have nominated. ...

Our record on judges is clear. With the support of [Republican senators], we have confirmed good judges to the district courts, the circuit courts, and the Supreme Court. And this country is better off with John Roberts and Sam Alito as members of the United States Supreme Court.

A vote for a Democrat senator in this state or in any state in which there's a senatorial election is a vote against highly-qualified judges like these. All you have to do is look at the records. When the Democrats held the Senate, they denied hearings to one-third of my nominees to the court of appeals. See, they've got a record. You can rest assured what's going to happen if the Democrats take over the Senate. When they lost the majority in 2002, they changed their tactics. Instead of not giving them hearings, they just simply filibustered them. They tried the same tactics when Sam Alito's Supreme Court nomination came before the Senate. More than half of Senate Democrats voted to filibuster him. When he finally got his vote, 44 Democrats voted no. ...

The same thing happened to John Roberts. When I nominated him for the D.C. Circuit, it took -- he had been denied a hearing when another President Bush named him. So he finally got his name up; he got in, and then the Senate finally confirmed him. I will just tell you this: If the Senate were controlled by Democrats, John Roberts would still be waiting for a hearing. ...

If you want good, sound, conservative judges who will not legislate from the bench, you send Republicans back to the United States Senate.
Bush made similar statements [transcript] at an event earlier Thursday in Montana. AP has more.

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