While St. Hilaire was ultimately confirmed, it was on a straight party-line vote:
Liddle Chris’ fellow Democrat (the lame-duck Executive Council is currently 3-2 GOP), Andrew Volinsky (or #VolinskyAgenda as he is better known on twitter) also (not surprising since the two usually vote in lockstep) imposed a Planned Parenthood litmus test:
Dan St. Hilaire was a county attorney, worked in private practice, has a passion for amateur astronomy, and currently works for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. But it was his vote against a contract for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in 2011 while serving on the Executive Council that generated the most discussion during his confirmation hearing Monday to serve as a Superior Court judge.
St. Hilaire, a Republican, cast one of three votes against a $1.8 million federal contract for women’s health services, citing his concern that the money could be used for abortion services despite a ban on federal dollars funding such services.
It is possible that Liddle Chris and #VolinskyAgenda just sought to punish St. Hilaire for having the temerity to vote against that endless fount of Democrat campaign-cash, Planned Parenthood, but I think there is more to it than that.
I think their opposition is also based on the Left’s belief that judging is a political, not a legal, exercise. That is, the belief that the judge starts with the result he or she wants to reach and then crafts a legal (actually, usually a pseudo-legal) argument justifying that result. As I discussed in a prior post about one of New Hampshire’s most notorious judicial activists:
Judge Lewis’ decision in the Duncan case is a paradigmatic example of judicial activism, or political judging. Essentially, what political judging involves is reasoning backwards from a political result that the judge wants to achieve. Here, the political result was to prevent application of the education tax credit law, because those credits are used to defray tuition to private schools, and the Left opposes making it easier for low and middle-class children to attend private schools.
So in the view of Liddle Chris and #VolinskyAgenda if you are not a political supporter of abortion you are not qualified to serve as a judge. And it is not enough to be just a political supporter. You must also be a judicial activist who views his or her role as a judge as “protecting rights” (a lovely euphemism for reaching the political results that Liddle Chris and #VolinskyAgenda agree with).
Of course, this view of the role of a judge is upside down. As Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote when serving on the 10th Circuit:
While Liddle Chris is off to Congress, the Executive Council will flip from 3-2 GOP to 3-2 Democrat next year. With two hard-Lefties joining Comrade #VolinskyAgenda, the Executive Council might as well just hang up a sign that says “Real Judges Need Not Apply.”