September 21, 2005

The next Supreme Court nominee

Apparently there is going to be a big meeting this week between Bush and some leading Senators:

President Bush has invited Senate leaders and the top two lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee to the White House on Wednesday to discuss the second vacancy on the Supreme Court. The meeting is similar to one Bush held in July, one week before he nominated Roberts to fill the shoes of the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Top senators want to know Bush's pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but he isn't expected to hand over his shortlist before the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on his choice of John Roberts for chief justice.

Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., refused to talk Tuesday about whether he would suggest candidates. "It's his meeting," said Specter, who said he hopes the nominee will be "someone who will promote stability so there are no sharp turns" on the nation's highest court.

"I'm going to listen to what he says and I'm going to respond to it the best I can," Specter said.

Democratic leader Harry Reid, who said Tuesday that he'll oppose Roberts' expected confirmation, urged the president to proceed slowly on filling O'Connor's seat. "I don't think he needs to do it in the next couple of weeks, that's for sure," he said.

To some legal analysts, the stakes are higher for Bush's nominee to replace O'Connor. They say Roberts' confirmation would essentially replace one conservative vote with another. O'Connor, however, has been the deciding vote in some affirmative action, abortion, campaign finance, discrimination and death penalty cases.

Reid said Tuesday he would view it as a "poke in the eye with a sharp stick" if Bush nominated any of the 10 appeals court nominees whom Democrats blocked in recent years, including some who were later confirmed. That group includes federal appellate judges Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, two candidates thought to be under consideration.

Dana Perino, White House deputy press secretary, suggested Reid was changing the standard for judging nominees to the Supreme Court. "The public does not want to see the Supreme Court become an extension of partisan politics," Perino said.

Reid and company are making a big mistake by deciding to vote en masse against Roberts' confirmation. Had they decided to go along, they could have in return demanded some degree of "moderation" or "consultation" for O'Connor's replacement. There's nothing in that for Bush, because whomever he selects they are going to reject anyway, so he might as well appeal to his base. One of the central memes of the administration is not to get burned making similar mistakes that Bush 41 made: and his greatest mistake, from this view, was working with the congressional Democrats on the budget. He gave them his word, broke his promise not to raise taxes, and they turned around and lit him up like a SpongeBob pinata at a Reston 5 year old's backyard birthday party. ("Try the croquet mallet, Timmy!") Now, 100 years from now I think the David McCulloch of the era is going to write a hell of a great biography placing George H.W. Bush as one of the great presidents of the 20th century (yes, I am quite serious---it took people 200 years to appreciate John Adams, but I don't think it will take quite so long for Poppy). And there is certainly the sense that right now is NOT the time to be triggering an overtly partisan fight, with his political capital on the slender side. On that front, however, I think he's going to rise in the polls, perhaps dramatically: the "Bush blew up the levees because he hates blacks and HALLIBURTON!" mentality overplayed their hand. He's owned up to the slow federal response, to the degree over time people are going to see that it wasn't really that slow. The real problems from a governmental perspective----Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Blanco---are beginning to show their true colors, or at least even CNN is now slowly coming to realize the gross incompetence of their management. Nagin's time has been this week, with his downright loopy press conferences and bizarre shots across the bow at the Coast Guard. Blanco's time will come soon too.

YIPS! from Robbo - The Donks are going to fight tooth and nail against any nominee to the right of Barbra Streisand, so it strikes me that any talk of compromise or finesse is a waste of time. Time for Dubya to bring the heater.

By the way, with regard to the poll numbers, I have it straight from a white-hot source inside the Administration that the Sith Lord Rove ordered the second hurricane to be aimed at the Texas coast in order to a) give the Feds another shot at a lightning response, thereby erasing memories of earlier slowness and b) give the Texas Republicans a chance to show how to handle disaster relief competantly and make the Donks in Louisiana look even worse.

Is that genius, or what?

Posted by Steve at September 21, 2005 08:37 AM | TrackBack

Is there nothing Karl Rove can't do? I think they ought to cast him as the next James Bond.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 21, 2005 10:24 AM

More like the next Bond villain

Posted by: Steve the LLamabutcher at September 21, 2005 12:32 PM

I thought Bond villains were cast as lesser versions of Karl Rove.
And now Reid and Kennedy are going to oppose Roberts. So why shouldn't Bush nominate Attila the Hun? (besides him being dead, and not familiar with Anglo-American jurisprudence).

Posted by: rbj at September 21, 2005 12:59 PM