Conservatives Turn Heat On Red-State Democrats Over Judges

Conservative groups are looking to make the Capitol Hill battle over President Obama’s judicial nominees an issue in Senate elections in 2014 by arguing that red-state Democrats are “rubber-stamping” liberal judges.

The Judicial Crisis Network has already announced a round of ads attacking Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana for supporting all of Mr. Obama’s judicial picks, and said she and other Democrats will have to be careful going forward about which judges they approve.

“They are going to have to decide whether they are gong to stick with a president who is flagging in popularity or represent the more moderate voters in their home states who will turn out at the ballot box,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network.

The issue boiled over late last month when Senate Democrats used the so-called nuclear option to change the chamber’s long-standing filibuster rules, eliminating the GOP’s chance for partisan blockades and making it easier for Mr. Obama’s nominations to clear the chamber.

Ford O’Connell, a GOP consultant, said the fight is “too inside baseball” for most rank-and-file voters — though it is an issue that resonates with tea partyers and the Republican base.

“Southerners in particular — in Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina — hate what they perceive as judicial activism from progressives,” he said.

Democrats said they welcome an electoral fight about judges, saying they believe voters will want to punish Republicans for obstruction of Mr. Obama’s agenda.

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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