Friday, July 01, 2005

Michael: O'Crap!

O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court. This is going to be bad. Everyone was expecting Rehnquist's retirement; that would have been cake. Replace one right wing ideologue with another - no problems. Court stays the same and there's no fireworks over confirmation of a new Justice, though Bush trying to give Scalia the cute stripey robe might cause a few heads to be knocked.

But O'Connor is a swing vote and a relative moderate. Replace her with a wing nut and you have a very different court, indeed. There is no doubt that to keep the balance of the court the same the Senate can only confirm someone as moderate as O'Connor.

The good news is that Bush has no hand with the Senate now. He can't even get Moondoggie Bolton confirmed for a prissy little Ambassadorship. The liklihood of getting confirmed whatever shambling mound of conservatism he chooses for the Court are slim. Bush just might have to compromise and choose a moderate Republican as Sen. Harry Reid suggested at the close of the SC session.

But that would be the smart and sane thing to do. The GOP, and Bush in particular, have a terrible prediliction for over-estimating both their own power (which is considerable, I grant) and the popularity of their choosen fights among mainstream Americans (which is abyssmal, I allege). Given their deadly combination of power-drunkeness and a tendency to over-estimate their own electoral attractiveness, the GOP has a high potential for hitting on nominees way above their league. When they are stumbling around half-mad on power, trying desperately to close the deal, they may be tempted to slip Lady Justice a roofie to smooth the consummation, and then we had all better watch out - the aforementioned fireworks may fly.


At 8:50 PM, Blogger Joel Gaines said...

This is not unexpected to many of us on the right - there have been rumors. I and some others got together recently and discussed this at length. The fear we have is that President Bush is going to put Alberto Gonzales up. He's not really a strict Constitutional jurist in the opinion of many on this side of the aisle. He also has little chance of being confirmed. President Bush has a habit of returning long-time loyalty - not a bad thing in itself - but this isn't really the time or place for it. I am probably not explaining this well, but suffice it to say that I will be saying, "Oh Crap!" if Gonzales goes up to replace O'Connor.

Regardless of who it is, the President's nominee will break the deal made by "Groupo 14" on judicial appointments. Crystal ball time :) Rehnquist will retire in the next 6 - 10 months. There is also some talk that the next Chief Justice could be Thomas, although Scalia is certainly the strong favorite. There is another rumor that Luttig from the Fourth Circuit will get the nod to for Chief Justice, when the time comes and Gonzales will go up now as nominee for associate.

One thing is certain, the Senate Republicans understand this is the "big one" for them. If they allow this appointment, whoever it is, to go the way the Bolton appointment has (honestly, who gives three donuts about who the UN Amb is anyway? - it's all drama), it will be pretty much over for any of them defending seats in '06.

There is going to be a lot of partyline bickering and hopefully we'll have a constitutional court at the end of all of this. Persoanlly, I don't care if the associate is a conservative or not, I am looking for someone with high marks as a constitutional jurist. It's going to be a long, hot Summer, Michael.

At 1:52 AM, Blogger Michael said...

I agree with most (I would say 'all', but then the universe might disappear, or hell might freeze over) of that, Joel. Especially the part about Gonzales. The man is a lap dog, not a jurist. Also the part about an excellent constitutional jurist. I hope Bush sticks to the ABA recomendations and takes the advice of Reid as the acceptable range of right-wingy we'll accept without a melt-down.

I think a Republican is fine. I think a conservative is fine. I just don't want a lunatic raving about 'the Constitution in exile,' or anyone who sounds like this guy but isn't kidding.


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