Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 7, 2005
LAW: Quick Links 7/7/05
Roundup of news on the Supreme Court nomination fight:
Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate. But Senate Democratic aides said they will focus for now on bipartisan consultation and not publicly prejudge the nominee.
The "consultation" point is mostly BS - the Dems will make up their own minds without consulting Bush or Frist, but they expect to have real input into GOP decisions. "Extremism" is one of the Democrats' favorite warhorses, but at least it's a battle on the merits. As for documents, this is a common tactic now in confirmation fights. One is the familiar plaintiff-lawyer tactic of using endless demands for information as a stalling tactic when the facts and the law are against you: they don't care about any particular documents, as long as they keep some requests open that they can point to and say, "see, we need more information." Then there's the Coca-Cola strategy (Coke generally settles cases when they are compelled to produce the secret formula for Coca-Cola, since the formula is worth more than any one lawsuit): in the case of Miguel Estrada, the Democrats deliberately sought documents that the Administration, for reasons of bipartisan principle (i.e., they were supported in this by Democratic ex-Solicitor Generals), simply had to refuse, thus ensuring a permanent stall of the nomination.
*Byron York recounts how President Clinton picked Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Clinton presumably provides a model for Bush, who will want to gather intelligence from any key Democrats who are willing to provide it, but will in the end have to make his own call for his own reasons.
*Dales notes that 86% of Americans expect the Democrats to "attempt to block Bush's nominee for inappropriate political reasons". That may be a bad place to start from, or it may just reflect Americans' pervasive cynicism about politics and politicians.
*RealClearPolitics noted, when Rehnquist was the presumed retiree, that Ted Kennedy stated that "of the three oft-mentioned, younger appeals court judges who are candidates for the chief justice slot - J. Michael Luttig, John Roberts or Michael McConnell - one would be acceptable." My money's on Roberts, but I suppose he could mean McConnell.