Well, I guess that is one solution to the Rove/Plame rumblings in the press- move up the unveiling of the Supreme Court nominee. “Look- A rabbit!”
As my Republican credentials are, as of late, not very good, I feel obliged to follow the meme shift and do my partisan role to aid the cause. As such, I offer you this indictment of Gonzales by Gene Healy:
Gonzales’s theory of limitless executive power resurfaced in what have come to be known as the “torture memos.” An August 2002 memo prepared under Gonzales’s direction argues that the 1994 statute Congress passed prohibiting torture infringes on the president’s constitutional power as commander in chief: “Congress can no more interfere with the president’s conduct of the interrogation of enemy combatants than it can dictate strategic or tactical decisions on the battlefield.” If the president deemed torture necessary to achieving America’s war aims, the memo argued, then Congress would be powerless to restrain him. It’s a theory that echoes Richard Nixon’s infamous statement in a 1977 interview with David Frost: “Well, when the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” Asked about the memos in his confirmation hearings for attorney general last January, Gonzales refused to recant his view that the president can ignore the law.
It’s not clear what we can glean from Alberto Gonzales’s tenure on the Texas Supreme Court. But his record as a top administration official is clear: he is altogether too much a company man, all too willing to waive constitutional limits in support of radical expansions of executive power. He should not be allowed to serve on a Court that will in the future be called upon to check that power.
Clement is known to be pro-defendant in civil rights cases and is like O’Connor on business issues, which means that conservatives will be pleased with her on those issues. There is no indication that Clement takes an expansive reading of the Commerce Clause and every indication that she does, in fact, take the opposite view.
Sources close to the White House tell me that the pick has been made, but are not giving me the name. Third party sources who would be among the first to know are saying that there is every indication that Clement is the pick. In fact, we are beginning to see conservatives get on board and shift from Edith B. Clement having too thin a papertrail to her being “with us.”
No one knows how Clement would vote on the ultimate issue — is abortion a medical procedure subject to state regulation or a constitutional right. I am told that, with the pressing issues currently headed to the court, i.e. partial birth abortion, parental notification, 24 hour waiting periods, the Solomon Amendment, etc. — conservatives do not need to worry about Clement, they need to worry about Justice Kennedy and whether he will continue heading left.
I have been told by multiple parties that, though we know little about Judge Clement’s leanings on social issues, we should make no mistake that her family background is conservative and that her husband is a “loyal” conservative. Also, I’ve gotten a few emails and phone calls from a few particular people who would know who all say that we should trust the President on this pick. I also know that lawyers in my home state of Louisiana like Clement and do think she is conservative.
It seems that Clement is not the ‘safe’ pick the base wants, and could be the ‘surprise’ they fear. Should be interesting.
BTW- Judge Clement is only 57, which is a definite plus. This confirmation battle is going to be so bloody that the younger the candidate the better, as a lengthy term will make the political capital expended seem worth it.