Thursday, July 07, 2005


Supreme Court nominee rodeo

Yes, President Bush has told everyone to pipe down about the Supreme Court vacancy. That was an endeavor doomed for failure. Of course, Bush has no one to blame for the tough talk coming down from both liberal and conservative camps but himself. If he had bothered to release the name of the nominee before jetting off for Europe, we could be debating the actual nominee instead of everyone's worst case scenario. Are we supposed to believe that the Administration hasn't picked a nominee yet for just this situation? I know that they only had 4 1/2 years to ponder the possibilities...

In any case, here are some of the more interesting takes on the topic:

Fred Barnes believes that Bush is in a no-win situation. He can either move the Court back towards the Right, or he can broaden the Republican Party. In a rare turn of events, I disagree with Fred. Nominating Gonzales doesn't broaden the party. It simply moves it Left, which is where it has been leaning since the November elections. A Gonzales nomination doesn't broaden the party because the GOP will lose conservatives from the Right. If anything, it will shrink the party, not grow it. At least Fred believes that Bush will choose the road less traveled (and more politically courageous) and reject moderate choices like Gonzales.

Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard, believes that Alberto Gonzales should withdraw his name from the short list of potential nominees. As Bill Quick writes, Gonzales' disbelief in the Second Amendment is especially troubling. (Hat tip: SayUncle.)

Former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork takes issue with how the media is portraying judges as "conservative" or "liberal." The entire CNN transcript is interesting to me, mostly because of how Bork views O'Connor as having no judicial philosophy. In the summer of 2002, I challenged Justice O'Connor with nearly the same words. Not surprisingly, she did not agree with my point of view. It's nice (in an ego-boosting sort of way) to read that Judge Bork has the same perspective that I did.

Brandon Miniter believes that nominating Judge Janice Rogers Brown is the solution. Glen Dean agrees. It's funny that Miniter closes by talking about Souter, because nominating Brown based on her skimpy track record - that would lead to an easier confirmation - is exactly the same process that elevated Souter to the High Court. The lesson here should be that if you want another Souter, choose a nominee that has a slight paper trail that the opposition can't attack during confirmation. Personally, I think that there is a better chance that Blake Wylie's choice - Judge Alex Kozinski - is the nominee than Brown. Of course, I could be wrong, as Senator Joe Biden has already promised a filibuster of a Brown nomination, per Mark Rose. That at least shows the Democrats view Janice Rogers Brown as a possibility. That, or they're baiting another Bush into another Souter appointment.

Southern Appeal has an outstanding post that must be read in its entirety. Of particular interest are the reports of Rehnquist's retirement. My fellow conservatives, if Rehnquist does retire and two nominees are confirmed - one Conservative Nominee X and the other Alberto Gonzales - we have gained nothing. (This is the portion of this post where I want to rant about how the GOP will be taught a lesson in 2006 if it supports such a position by the White House, but I will save that rage for another day. Heck, even the guys over at RedState - whom I have had a hard time trusting lately - are willing to pack it in and head for political retirement if Gonzales is confirmed.) Certainly, the White House must see the red flag that is raised when a possible Gonzales nomination is given the OK from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, right? Of course, when viewing this transcript of remarks made by Gonzales in 2004, it is easy to see why the liberals are willing to endorse a Gonzales appointment. After all:

Question: Many of us feel that the Constitution does not speak to permissive abortion. Would you comment?
Gonzales: The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is.

That sounds like the "living, breathing Constitution" that the liberals all love. Forget the Supreme Court. How was this guy a high-level advisor in the Bush White House? Wow...

Matt Drudge had one of Wednesday's more interesting scoops regarding a cellphone call made by Senator Chuck Schumer on a D.C.-NYC Amtrak commute. (Also see the press release from Progress for America.) It is debatable what was more interesting - Schumer's slip as to the obstructionist tactics the Democrats planned to use in the upcoming confirmation hearings, or that Schumer's next chummy call was to his good buddy Lindsey Graham. Of course, it seems that Schumer and Graham have been connected at the hip lately. I am so disappointed in Lindsey Graham. He has to be one of the five biggest political disappointments in my voting lifetime. He doesn't appear to be half the man he was when he swept into the House or as he served as one of the House Managers during the Clinton Impeachment. So sad...

Finally, much has been made of Fred Thompson's surprise acceptance as Bush's "shepherd" for the confirmation hearings. Blogging for Bryant thinks that this could lead Thompson to the Supreme Court or possibly the Governor's Mansion. I am inclined to think the opposite. Whenever I cross the paths of others who used to work for Fred, the common theme of every communication is that Fred is so much happier now that he has left the political arena. Michael Silence - no stranger to Senator Thompson - knows this. Even this simple dabbling with politics is likely to remind Fred of why he prematurely left the arena and quash any doubts deep in his mind as to whether he should serve again. (For the record, I wish this wasn't the case. I miss Fred Thompson. Even if we didn't agree on everything, he had a personality that was infectious and a persona in Tennessee that rivaled Elvis.) This position with President Bush's nomination team will not require heavy lifting for Fred. Some have assumed that it will, but Fred's position (as seen in this NewsMax report) is as the front man. Ed Gillespie will be handling the coalition building, arm-twisting, and trailblazing. No, this isn't Fred suddenly feeling the need to scratch a political itch. Instead, it is serving the country one last time at the bequest of his President- as long as it doesn't interfere with his filming of "Law & Order."

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