These remarks from Bush are going to cause a veritable s***-storm:
President Bush said today that his nominee for the Supreme Court may be someone who has never sat on the bench before.
“Would I be willing to consider people who had never been a judge?” Mr. Bush said. “And the answer is, ‘You bet.’ ”
Mr. Bush said he had had “a very good meeting” on Tuesday with Senate leaders of both parties, who had encouraged him to look beyond the federal judiciary for candidates to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
“We’re considering all kind of people,” Mr. Bush said after a Cabinet meeting today. “Judges, non-judges. Laura gave me some good advice yesterday, which is to consider women. Which, of course I’m doing.” First Lady Laura Bush said she would be pleased if the president nominated a woman to fill Justice O’Connor’s seat.
This is not going to fly well with those who want to do opposition research within the Democratic party, and it sure as hell is not going to amuse the right, who are pretty adamant about “no surprises:”
On the left, People for the American Way blasted 400,000 e-mails to supporters, urging them to contact U.S. senators and demand a moderate replacement.
On the right, the conservative Family Research Council hired three new lobbyists to work over senators during the confirmation battle. Progress for America blitzed cyberspace, sending an e-mail ad that reached 8.7 million inboxes, decrying the smear tactics Democrats plan to use against the eventual nominee. The ad was sent just 45 minutes following Mrs. O’Connor’s announcement…
Mark W. Smith, a legal expert and author of the New York Times bestseller The Official Handbook of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, says Justice O’Connor’s departure gives the Republican president a unique opportunity to change the court’s direction. Nominating and confirming a true conservative would give the court four committed conservatives, four committed liberals, and one left-leaning moderate in Justice Anthony Kennedy.
But he warns that Republican presidents have historically been very poor at choosing justices to strictly interpret the Constitution. After all, seven of the nine justices were Republican nominees. It was President Gerald Ford who nominated noted liberal Justice John Paul Stevens to the court. Mr. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, put left-leaning David Souter on the bench.
“The history shows conservatives have got to do a better job in picking judges,” Mr. Smith said. “If you pick anybody that you have any doubts about
Andrew J. Lazarus
So instead of Souter, Bush is going to give us the new Earl Warren.
OK, I could live with that.
“there’s a serious risk that they will evolve to the left”
I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean to admit that.
Someone who isn’t a judge??? Good lord! Not that all judges are geniuses by any means — but in the case of a Supreme Court Justice I would think some relevant experience would be helpful.
Unrelated, but the quote below helps to explain why Repubs are so effective at the polls:
Damn, that is some serious orgnization. Where was the left on this? I am curious about the numbers behind any MoveOn action. I mean, giving money to the groups on the Right seems a lot more cost effective than the Left — not that people decide which side to donate based on that. But it is still very telling — I mean Kerry ended the election with a surplus! What the hell!?!?!?!
As long as whomever he nominates is a lawyer, that’d be cool with me.
As an aside, could we actually have a Justice who wasn’t a lawyer? Something about practicing without a license? Does a judge ‘have’ to be a lawyer?
I know the Constitution doesn’t state that a Justice has to be a lawyer, but common sense says that a nominee should have some kind of law degree even if they don’t ‘practice’ the law.
Whoever is nominated as a Justice, once confirmed, will not be beholden to any special interest group. The nominee will likely serve for decades. It would be best to have as Justice someone who has an outstanding legal record (on the bench, in government and/or in academia) as well as being a person of outstanding character.
I wonder if Bush likes to throw these curveballs just to mess with people – sort of his “that’s for me to know and you to find out” moment.
I can’t see how it would be easier to nominate a politician, as you’re either going to get someone who is a mystery to both sides, or someone who is such an ideologue (isn’t everyone, these days?) that everyone will know exactly what they’re getting. I mean, you can argue that Justice Janice Rogers Brown would have a healthy respect for precedent, hasn’t really thought about Roe v. Wade as much as you might assume, etc., etc., and enough of the public who has no idea who she is might buy it, but good luck pulling the same trick with Justice Santorum.
I know it’s totally different and there is such a thing as context, but that whole statement “Laura gave me some good advice” is probably gonna get turned upside down and inside out the same way it did when President Carter said something like “well, i was discussing that with my daughter Amy” in response to a question about nuclear weapons.
Damn, that is some serious orgnization. Where was the left on this? I am curious about the numbers behind any MoveOn action.
I don’t think the left uses address lists bought from churches, but I’ve been wrong before. Maybe there are fewer churches for the left to get such lists from?
In other SCOTUS news, Chief Justice Rehnquist has been hospitalized:
Just curious – will the right be insisting he be kept alive with a feeding tube if he goes into a PVS?
The theory is that senators would have a tough time rejecting one of their own. For example, God forbid, Orrin Hatch.
but good luck pulling the same trick with Justice Santorum.
Posted by Steve at July 13, 2005 04:00 PM
Considering that Santorum won’t win re-election, it’s just possible that he could be nominated. Man, I would just love to see that happen just for the amusement factor.
“Considering that Santorum won’t win re-election…”
Altough I’m not gonna vote for Santorum, the people that keep saying this obviously know nothing about:
A) Pennsylvania politics, ie how conservative the state is between Philly and Pittsburgh
B) what an empty suit Bob Casey jr is
C) how skilled a campaigned Santorum is, regardless of repugnant some of his views might be
Well, I was just going by the poll numbers, but you must still admit, it would be amusing to just watch the fallout from such a nomination.
Just to throw some into apoplectic fits, how about Justice Dobson, Justice Buchanan, or Justice Rove?
That last one would probably cause large fits of violence, and would surely signal the nearing of completion of the
Buchanan has mellowed out a lot recently – might be the drugs, but still, doesn’t provide for as much amusement value as the rest of them.
If I recall correctly there was a news story in the last few months about an earlier-this-year meeting where O’Connor and a few others indicated they’d like to see an appointment of a non-judge.
As far as the whole “nominating someone who’s never been a judge” thing goes, didn’t Governor and then President Clinton get quite a bit of mileage saying he’d strong consider Mario Cuomo for the Supreme Court?
I googled Cuomo and as far as i can tell, he’s been an assistant to a judge, but never a judge himself (i can’t say that with 100% certainty, because the bios i found weren’t the best). I seem to remember that suggestion being pretty popular with Democrats at the time. (although, i think Clinton was just saying it to make up for the fact that he told Jennifer Flowers he wouldn’t be surprised if Cuomo was La Cosa Nostra.)
**and yes, I know Clinton isn’t President anymore, but it’s perfectly relevant to this discussion, except for my snarky last comment about mob ties.
Well I could add Justice Limbaugh and Justice O’Reilly if that would help. But please, no bloviating and keep it pithy if you disagree.
There isn’t a legal requirement for a Supreme Court Justice to be a judge, a lawyer, a law school graduate, or anything else. (I don’t even know that there are the boilerplate requirements that the judge be a certain age or an American citizen.) Hmm, just rereading the Constitution. I know that the Congress sets the number of Justices on the Supreme Court (though they can’t reduce the number if it means kicking a justice off the bench). I wonder if they could legislate the pool from which the President appoints justices.
How do people feel about the characterization of Anthony Kennedy as a “left-leaning moderate?”
How do people feel about the characterization of Anthony Kennedy as a “left-leaning moderate?”
I was eating lunch while watching CNN when they broadcast those remarks. Bush was asked: would you consider picking someone who hadn’t been a judge? and answered: sure; we’re considering everyone. It sounded to me like a non-story: he didn’t bring up the topic, and why would he have said “no, under no circumstances will I consider someone who hasn’t been a judge”? So I’m not sure it’s a big deal.
Ah-nold for Supreme Court Justice!
The moderate part is correct. The left-leaning is not.
I think it is a bad idea to appoint someone without judicial experience. There is a technical aspect to the job that is important.
“This is not going to fly well with those who want to do opposition research within the Democratic party, and it sure as hell is not going to amuse the right, who are pretty adamant about ‘no surprises:'”
Fair enough, but I have no inherent objection, myself (although odds are that I might not like the actual pick); there’s plenty of, dare I say, precedent behind such an appointment.
Karl Rove is behind that. Rove figures that by having Bush say that, it gives the Democrats a new list of people to slander as extremists, so that they will look even more nuttier than they do now. (If that’s possible).
Oh, Kennedy is “left-leaning.” He is worried about his reputation at Yale and Columbia more than following the Constitution.
You mean, as compared with Scalia, who’s more concerned about getting his presidential choice in office rather than being consistent with all of his prior opinions?