In one of the lamest and ill-conceived opinion pieces in years (and that's saying a lot), the News and Observer today weighs in on behalf of Terrence Boyle for the 4th Circuit Court in Richmond.
Boyle is a victim of the increasingly politicized judicial nominating and confirmation process. He became a target for some Democrats who lumped him in with hard ideologues who also were nominees and mounted strong opposition to him. That the nomination has been abandoned is no reflection on the judge's competence. The Bush administration failed to get him through when Republicans held a majority in the Senate. Now that they're in the minority, the White House clearly recognized Boyle's odds were only worse.
Whether Democrats will admit it or not, one of Boyle's sins in their minds was that he once worked for former Sen. Jesse Helms. In allowing that to influence their positions on Boyle, the Democrats were being petty and harshly partisan.
It's hard to imagine a dumber set of conclusions about this man.
The People For the American Way report documents that during his tenure as a federal district court judge, Boyle has tried to effectively overrule key federal laws and precedents that protect fundamental civil and constitutional rights. Among the highlights of Boyle’s record:
* a North Carolina employment case in which he suggested that the federal government should respect discrimination that is explained by a state’s “culture”;
* attempts to exempt state agencies from federal anti-discrimination laws, including an Americans with Disabilities Act case in which he suggested that working is “not a major life activity” warranting protection under the ADA;
* a reversal rate that is significantly higher than other judges in the Fourth Circuit, one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country;
* repeated reversals for committing “plain error,” which are obvious and egregious mistakes that harm individual rights and undermine the fairness and integrity of judicial proceedings;
* numerous reversals for repeating the same mistakes for which he was reversed in earlier rulings.