Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Listmus Tests

Remember that long, wonderful, delectable post that I mentioned this afternoon? Well, I ain't spending the next hour-plus churning out another one. Probably just forty-five minutes instead.

Came across a Washington Times piece this morning that, while it didn't amaze, did cause me to pause and head-shakingly admire the sheer cheek of the DisLoyal Opposition:

Democrats are floating candidates who they consider acceptable Supreme Court nominees primarily to ensure that they can complain later about not "really" being consulted by President Bush when none are selected, according to conservatives.

Never mind the scheming - hell, the day a Democrat needs an excuse to filibuster is the day that I swear off oxygen - just look at those first eleven words: "Democrats are floating candidates who they would consider acceptable Supreme Court nominees."

President Reagan may have put it best when he said, regarding a Democrat drive to raise taxes in fiscal 1984, "Isn't that novel?" The minority, out-of-power party bellying up to the table of power as though they're entitled to a seat at it and issuing pre-emptive ultimatums. Kind of like walking into a four-star restaurant in a tank top and cutoffs, without a reservation, telling the maitre d' his tux makes him look like an emperor penguin with sciatica, and expecting your soup to be free of any of the chef's bodily fluids.

Did Republicans ever muster this level of brass in their long years in the minority? Are you kidding? When Orrin Hatch had his chance to be an obstinate prick in 1993, he instead graciously conceded that Bill Clinton had won the election the year before and was entitled to his own judicial choices. Heck, Ruth Buzzy Ginsberg came from his "list," as did Stephen Breyer a year later. What he didn't do was cross his arms, sneer at Mr. Bill and say, "It's Robert Bork or nothing, Slick."

It wouldn't have mattered if he had - George Mitchell would have pulled the trigger on what we know as the Constitutional option so fast the Capitol would still be spinning.

Yet here we are with some of those same Donks (lot fewer of them now) trying to bluff their way through lacking a president and a dozen extra senators (for this purpose) like the paper hero who confronts the villain thinking he's backed up by ten brawny friends who have all ducked out while he wasn't looking.

Still, even then, you would think that they might put forth some names that a reasonable person could be conned into believing are compromises - you know, "moderates" like the Justice they'd be replacing. That's the Dems' talking point, isn't it?

Guess again, Riddler:

The...names that had been recommended by Mr. Reid of Nevada and Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, were federal appeals court Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Edward C. Prado and federal district court Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa.
Sotomayor a "consensus" pick? Good Lord, I'm a hack accountant and I remember what a loony lefty Judge Sotomayor is:

Judge Sotomayor, for instance, has been criticized by conservatives in the past and was considered a potential Supreme Court nominee if either former Vice President Al Gore or Senator John Kerry had become president. [emphasis added]

Which they...well, didn't.

In 1998, she was awarded the Court Jester Award by the Family Research Council for extending the application of the Americans With Disabilities Act to a woman who failed the New York bar exam several times because, she said, she couldn't read very well.

Hoh, yeah, that's a "bipartisan" selection for a conservative Republican president to make. Reminds me of a cross between What's My Line? and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The other two are more obscure, but appear to be known for the tenor of those supporting them:

Judge Prado also isn't viewed as acceptable by conservatives, but he's become the focus of a major Democratic campaign to be nominated.

"DraftPrado.org is an independent grassroots campaign," according to its Web site. Its creators, however are anything but independent.

Executive director Arkadi Gerney and chief technical adviser Tim Cullen were co-founders of Concerts for Kerry, a group that tried generating interest in last year's Kerry campaign among young voters.

Marc Laitin, the group's campaign manager, was press contact last year for a group called Run Against Bush, which described itself as "a movement to defeat Bush in 2004."
Understand that Democrats really think these are "compromise" picks and really expect the President to pick from their list. And to think I worried that I would never see a bona fide real-life example of pure solipsism.

And when Dubya doesn't obey their explicit instructions?

"The truth of the matter is that no matter who the President nominates, Harry Reid and his merry band of obstructionists will do everything in their power to delay the nomination, smear the nominee, make outrageous demands and whine every step of the way."
And if Senators Graham, McCain, and now Ben Nelson can be believed, a filibuster ain't gonna fly.

Looks like, for the Dems, the dogs days aren't going away once August is past.

OTOH, if this report is anywhere near the mark, bleep the whole bleeping thing.

[HT: B4B]

UPDATE 7/19: Edith Brown Clement? Does Senator Byrd know something Dubya doesn't?

UPDATE/BUMP 7/19 12:36PM PDT: Double-H sez it might be the other 5th Circuit Edith, Edith Jones, about whom Renew America (via CQ) wrote the following:

Just 56, Judge Jones has served twenty years as an appellate judge on the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court. She was appointed by President Reagan in 1985 at the age of 36.

Judge Jones has openly criticized Roe v. Wade, condemns "modish, untested philosophical notions" imposed by the Supreme Court "that would have left the [Constitution's] Framers aghast," and believes that the Framers' principles of limited government and personal virtue were derived mainly from the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. In January 2003, she told a University of Virginia audience that the nation's foundational values were Biblical.

Jones is critical of the legacy of the Warren Court, which she contends "extravagantly assumed the power to dictate new 'rights' not expressly stated in the Constitution and in so doing foisted its philosophical vision on the United States with consequences far beyond the Court's imagining."

Among areas Jones believes the activist Supreme Court has damaged American society are crime and punishment, pornography, family relations, public order, and youth and education.

Judge Clement's constitutionalist credentials don't appear to be nearly as voluminous or sterling, as the Powerline gents have nervously discussed. The Cap'n seems equally as resigned to "Souter in a skirt," figuring that the White House will duck a Battle for Olympus and save a front-burner conservative for when Chief Justice Rehnquist quits.

Except, of course, that may be a while yet. And what happens if Justice Ginsberg steps down in the meantime, or the octogenarian Justice Stevens suddenly passes away? Does the President keep taking passes until it's "okay" to pick the type of judge he's promised to pick for the past five years? When would that ever be "okay" to the minority-that-thinks-it's-still-the-majority?

Maybe a Justice Clement would make the constitutionalist wing of the Court co-ed. But stealth nominees don't have a reassuring track record, and as Rush Limbaugh pointed out just this morning, even one-time constitutionalists that can't stand the heat (i.e. Justice Kennedy) can be broken. And it certainly looks to me like Judge Jones can, to milk the metaphor to its feminist-approved limits, dominate the "kitchen."

Certainly that's worth a "huge fight."

UPDATE 2:17PM PDT: Trolling through the comments sections (case in point) there appears to be a burgeoning fatalistic restlessness in the GOP grassroots about the frontrunnership of Judge Clement over Judge Jones. I'd like to think that, if calculating Senate response was part of the selection process, likely base reaction to a disappointing choice was also considered. As the old song title goes, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," and when it comes go GOP SCOTUS picks, our hides bear a lot more than just one set of tooth marks.

It may not be fair for so many of us to summarily write off Edith Brown Clement before she's even been appointed, but if she's the pick, that may be the last straw for quite a few conservatives who took the President, with his oft-repeated promise to appoint Scalias and Thomases, at his word. "Read my lips" all over again.

My question in that event would be, "Why take that chance by ducking the fight we elected you to take on?"

Here's hoping I don't have to ask it.

UPDATE 3:16PM PDT: Based on this ABC report, Morrissey now switches his call to Edith Jones, while Hugh Hewitt on his radio show moments ago Karnaks Michael Luttig, who has been seen in D.C. with his family in "go to meetin'" clothes.

Now watch Bush usher out Alberto Gonzalez after all. (Juuuuuuust kidding....)

UPDATE 5:01PM PDT: After all this fuss & fiddle, it's John Roberts, of whom NRO's Jonathan Adler just wrote:

John Roberts was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit court of Appeals in the last few years, though he was first nominated in 1991 by Bush 41. He is a "middle-aged white guy," but he is universally regarded as among the best Supreme Court advocate in the nation, bar none. He clerked for Rehnquist, was deputy SG, is a remarkable oral advocate and a sharp legal mind. He is liked and admired by all of the current justices, who regularly look forward to cases in which he is representing one of the parties because of the quality of his work. If a case is winnable, he will win it. It is a travesty he was not confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in the 1990s when first nominated. Setting aside ideology — and he has a sterling conservative reputation despite the relative lack of a paper trail — he is close to the Platonic ideal of what a Supreme Court nominee should be.

Wheeeeooo, better call the Scanners alert in the chancellories of the American Left.

UPDATE 6:55PM PDT: Didja note the President mentioning the quick, civil confirmations of Clinton's two appointments, Ginsberg and Breyer? If that isn't a shot over the bow (or as much of one as Bush ever shoots), I don't know what is.

And so, in the end Dubya comes through with a tremendous choice. His base is happy. And the Left is pissed. But then aren't they always?

Double-H thinks a Democrat filibuster is unlikely because it would unsustainable since Judge Roberts is bullet-proof and the half-dozen or so red-state Senate Donks up for re-election next year are not. This presumes both a helluva lot more rationality on the part of the Senate minority than they've displayed in years and a helluva lot more freedom of action than they've enjoyed in almost as long. The Sorosian/Mooreon base of that party has its officeholders by the fundraising shorthairs, and like Gepetto and his puppets, they are the ones who pull the Dem strings.

So I'm with the Cap'n that...

...we will see a Bolton-style stall tactic, where the Democrats demand more and more documentation from prior cases, and then filibuster when the White House finally balks.

The question then comes back full-circle to the McCain mutineers. Will they stick to their fool's bargain and refuse to support the Constitutional option, dooming the Roberts nomination and any others that Bush sends up that don't come out of Ted Kennedy's closet? Or will they support breaking the inevitable filibuster and then break ranks and help the Dems vote Judge Roberts down?

As always seems to be the case, it isn't the Democrats who bear watching, since they are almost always a constant. It is the Republicans who will determine the outcome of this political fight to the death.

For the sake of Judge Roberts and the survival of American democracy, these had better be the Pachyderms that show up over the ensuing weeks. The President and the majority that re-elected him deserve, and will demand, no less.

[See Michelle Malkin's Great Link Central and B4B for more than you could ever read in one sitting.]