For what must be a first time ever, Ann Coulter and I share a common dream: "an all-black Supreme Court composed of eight more Clarence Thomases." Though I must say that I'm not so picky. I'd take a mixture of Thomases with a healthy heaping of Janice Rogers Browns. But something tells me Coulter wouldn't mind that plan either.
In the last few months the outspoken columnist has been vociferously opposed to Roberts because his record is far from proven and there are more questions than answers regarding his judicial philosophy. I on the other hand have endorsed the D.C. Circuit judge because after reviewing the decisions he drafted during his two-year tenure as an appellate judge, I am confident he will not be a disappointment.
It was an important nomination and a part of the Bush legacy to be scrutinized for ages, but the elevation of Roberts to the chief justice spot is unlikely to shift the Supreme Court to the right, as Roberts is basically expected to be a conservative replacing a conservative.
The real test is Bush's pick to replace O'Connor, the pivotal swing vote who sided with the liberal wing on hot-button issues such as abortion, religion, affirmative action and the death penalty. Liberals have all but gotten down on one knee begging Bush to chose a consensus nominee.
With the perfect opportunity before him to move the Court drastically to the right, Coulter wonders in this week's column how a greater Republican president would have handled the task of reshaping the Supreme Court:
For Christians, it's "What Would Jesus Do?" For Republicans, it's "What Would Reagan Do?" Bush doesn't have to be Reagan; he just has to consult his WWRD bracelet. If Bush had followed the WWRD guidelines, he would have nominated Antonin Scalia for the chief justiceship.
But President Bush doesn't need to resort to such tactics, because his party has complete control of the federal branches. Regardless of what threats are chucked at him from the reliable liberals, there's no reason for Bush to go against his word which was to nominate someone to the bench in the mold of Scalia or Thomas. He owes a lot to his faithful base and this is the perfect opportunity to come through.
As proof, I refer you to the evidence. When Reagan had an opening for chief justice, he nominated Associate Justice William Rehnquist. While liberals were preoccupied staging die-ins against Rehnquist and accusing him of chasing black people away from the polls with a stick – something they did not accuse Roberts of – Reagan slipped Scalia onto the court.
Scalia deserved the chief justiceship. He's the best man for the job. He has suffered lo these many years with Justices Souter, Kennedy and O'Connor. He believes in a sedentary judiciary. He's for judicial passivism. Scalia also would have been the first cigar-smoking, hot-blooded Italian chief justice, which I note the diversity crowd never mentions.
And he still can nominate anyone because Democrats have absolutely no leverage, especially the ones who are opposing the well-qualified John Roberts. Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Minority Leader Harry Reid have already stated they will vote "no" on a guy who may turn out to be as moderate if not more so than Sandra Day O'Connor. These guys won't be happy with anyone.
But most important, if Bush had nominated Scalia, liberals would have responded with their usual understated screams of genocide, and Bush could have nominated absolutely anyone to fill Justice O'Connor's seat. He also could have cut taxes, invaded Syria, and bombed North Korea and Cuba just for laughs. He could even have done something totally nuts, like enforce the immigration laws.
If Roberts is such an unworthy candidate because the current administration failed to exploit his attorney-client privilege by releasing documents from his days in the Reagan administration, then of course the liberal Democrats will have a problem with whomever Bush selects to replace O'Connor. As we have seen all throughout the year, Democrats apparently have a hard time understanding that it is the party that wins elections that gets to nominate Supreme Court justices.
Asked yesterday if the nomination of Brown or appellate judge Priscilla Owen would warrant a Democratic filibuster, Reid responded, "It would warrant my being very upset."
Of course you'd be upset. If you don't like Roberts you're certainly not going to like Janice Rogers Brown! And not only would Reid be "upset," he'd be in severe pain because a Brown nominee would be like a "poke in the eye with a sharp stick."
But what would Reid be able to do about it? Brown was confirmed to the federal bench after the senators making up the "moderate 14" agreed to only filibuster under "extraordinary circumstances" - a vague standard if there ever was one.
If nominated, it will be extremely difficult for the Democrats to explain how they allowed Brown to become a federal judge but would stop her from getting onto the Supreme Court. Brown is a conservative, yes - maybe even a radical/hardcore/extreme conservative - but one who passed through the Senate without a post-deal filibuster.
But we're still hung up on Roberts, both liberals and conservatives, and Coulter can only dream:
Even if Roberts turns out to be another Rehnquist (too much to hope for another Scalia!), we don't know that, Bush doesn't know that, and Bush has blown a golden opportunity to make Chuck Schumer the public face of the Democratic Party. A few weeks of Schumer as their spokesman, and normal Democrats would be clamoring for Howard Dean to get back on the stick. Teddy Kennedy would start showing up at hearings actually holding a double scotch.
Truth is, if Bush can manage to get Janice Rogers Brown through the Senate once more and onto the Supreme Court, you can expect Kennedy to show up with a double scotch on a daily basis.
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