Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 12, 2005
LAW: Another Justice From Justice?

With hearings gearing up on John Roberts, RedState's Erick Erickson, parsing the latest rumors from sources who might have reason to know, says that while Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and Judge Edith Brown Clement are off the short list to replace Justice O'Connor, Miguel Estrada (formerly of the SOlicitor General's office, like Roberts) may be back on it. (Tigercon has more background on the tragic death of Estrada's wife, the details of which I hadn't been aware of but which obviously affect Estrada's own thinking). James Taranto has the not-entirely crazy idea that Bush should instead appoint yet another DC-based former DOJ attorney, law professor and former Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh.

Interesting that so many of the candidates appear - like Roberts - to be Beltway insiders, rather than judges from outside Washington. Of course, this is partly the Bork/Souter effect: if you want to avoid a candidate with a long paper trail like Bork, yet ensure that you don't get ugly surprises as with Souter, your best choice is to take someone who is a personally known quantity to a lot of DC Republicans (the way Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas were - Rehnquist had been at DOJ, Scalia the head of the Office of Legal Counsel and on the DC Circuit, Thomas the head of the EEOC and - like Roberts - briefly on the DC Circuit). Of course, as Estrada and Dinh are both relatively young and many of the objections made to Estrada (including demands for memos he wrote with the SG's office) are the same as those raised against Roberts, Estrada would seem to be a particularly logical pick if Bush intends to unveil his selection before Roberts is confirmed.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Law 2005 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

I have no problem with Miguel Estrada and am generally a moderate, but why do you think Miguel Estrada has any better shot at a Supreme Court seat than a Court of Appeals seat. To me, the opposite seems to be true. Seems like wishful thinking on the part of the Red State backers to me.

Posted by: Juan Del Publo at September 12, 2005 12:07 PM

A couple of reasons. First, Estrada's credentials are so similar to Roberts' that it would be tough to justify distinguishing the two. Second, Estrada withdrew his nomination before the 2004 elections - the Senate is more Republican now. Third, it would be more difficult to filibuster a qualified nominee, especially a Latino nominee, for a high-profile Supreme Court seat than it was for the Court of Appeals. Most people paid limited attention to the specific nominees on the Court of Appeals side. And fourth, it is at least arguable that the "Gang of Fourteen" compromise makes it tougher to sustain a filibuster.

Posted by: The Crank at September 12, 2005 12:31 PM
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