November 22, 2004


Scaring Specter straight (Robert Novak, November 22, 2004, Townhall)

Before Sen. Arlen Specter stood beside other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday and pledged support as their chairman for any judge that President Bush nominates, he had been scared stiff by his colleagues and by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

It was close. As late as Wednesday night, his statement of party loyalty was rejected by Frist as inadequate. When the Judiciary Republicans caucused Thursday, two of them were not yet on board for Specter. To achieve the chairmanship that he has coveted for years, Specter had to promise he would seriously dilute the "independence" he brags about. The achievement suggests that Frist is getting the hang of being leader after a rocky first year in the job.

That offers hope for an end to recent Democratic success in using the filibuster to block every Bush judicial nomination deemed objectionable to liberal pressure groups. The stakes grow higher with the probability of Supreme Court nominations. But Frist will have four additional Republican senators, thanks to this year's elections, and enhanced confidence, thanks to the way he handled the Specter affair.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2004 8:19 AM

This has nothing to do with Frist getting the 'hang' of his job, but with the massive conservative mail and phone demands to Senators to make sure conservative judges are appointed. The remaining danger is that Specter, as Chairman, appoints the Judiciary Committee staff.

Posted by: jd watson at November 22, 2004 10:50 AM

He doesn't appoint the members of the staffs of the various Senators though. If he plays too many games, he will be out faster than you can say 'Jim Jeffords.'

Posted by: Bart at November 22, 2004 11:45 AM

I think that Arlen got a good smell of the rope, clutched tightly in the fist(s) of the VRWC and shoved in his face.

Hopefully--both for himself and for us--he won't think that he's home free just because we cut down at the last moment.

Posted by: ray at November 22, 2004 6:50 PM