Monday, July 18, 2005

The Right Woman

The Moose avers that the President's and Congress' falling approval numbers will increase right wing pressure for only true believers on the Court.

Recent polls indicate that the popularity of the Republican Congress is continuing to plummet. While at this point it is far too premature to suggest that the GOP will lose control of Congress next year, the right wing agenda is in jeopardy. The President is rapidly in danger of gaining lame duck status.

That means that if the right is to have any lasting domestic gains from this Administration it must come from the Supreme Court. Indeed, besides cutting taxes and expanding entitlements, there is no lasting domestic legacy for this President and Congress. And with their further power in increasing jeopardy, the composition of the Court becomes even more critical.

That is why those potential nominees such as Gonzales with no defined judicial philosophy are entirely unacceptable to the right. The Moose is not suggesting that current poll numbers will be determinative of the nominee, he is only pointing out that the stakes are getting even higher as the conservatives look to a future that might not necessarily include a Republican Congress and President.

While it may seem logical for the President to reach out to the center with his nomination/nominations in order to improve his standing with moderates and independents, that is contrary to the political dynamic within the Republican Party. There are no moderates with influence in the upper reaches of the party any more. The only thing that is holding up this President is his base. Now, more than ever, he will likely stick with them.

Don't expect, however, that Bush will nominate a Bork with an incendiary paper trail. The nominees will appear to be earnest, qualified, with a "judicial temperament." However, any Federalist insider will recognize him or her as one of their own. They will be very difficult for the Democrats to block. Anticipate W. will also nominate a woman and a minority.

Bill Kristol shrewdly notes that gender is a device that the First Lady employed to trump moderate ideology,

"So the president and Mrs. Bush talked on Monday. Then Mrs. Bush just happened to tell NBC, in the midst of the controversy about a possible selection of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Court, that she hoped her husband would pick a woman. (She did leave him an out: "I know that my husband will pick somebody who has a lot of integrity and strength. And whether it's a woman or a man, of course, I have no idea.")

Just like that, the president and Mrs. Bush found a gentle way to tell the attorney general that he was not going to be appointed because he is not the suitable sex. Or so it appears."

Kristol goes on to mention several acceptable potential female nominees,

"For that seat, President Bush would improve the Court by appointing any from a long list of well-qualified women. Among them are federal appellate judges like Edith Jones, Edith Brown Clement, and Priscilla Owen on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Janice Rogers Brown on the D.C. Circuit, Karen Williams on the 4th Circuit, and Alice Batchelder on the 6th Circuit; distinguished law professors like Mary Anne Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard, and Lillian R. BeVier, John S. Shannon Professor of Law at Virginia; and state court judges like the impressive Maura D. Corrigan, who served on the Michigan Court of Appeals from 1992 to 1998, and has been on the Michigan Supreme Court since then, including a stint as chief justice. And the list goes on."

By the end of the year, conservatives could solidly control all three branches of government. That is not being defeatist, it is only an honest assessment of the correlation of forces. If necessary, the GOP will invoke the nuclear option to get their nominees through the Senate.

Progressive groups will spend millions of dollars to defeat the nominees. However, the money would be better spent developing innovative and persuasive ideas that can help Democrats gain power once again.

Conservative control over the judiciary makes it all the more important for Democrats to get their act together to take back at least two out of the three branches in the next 3 years. That is the Democratic imperative.
-- Posted at 8:09 AM | Link to this post | Email this post