June 4, 2005


Can You Say, 'Chief Justice Scalia'? (Paul Bedard, 6/06/05, US News))

It looks like the White House is considering only one sitting U.S. Supreme Court judge as a replacement for ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist , who's expected to step down this summer. Insiders tell us that Justice Antonin Scalia , not Justice Clarence Thomas , is the one President Bush is most likely to tap. The thinking: How could the Senate reject a judge they OK'd for the court 98 to 0?

It's an effective way to separate Democrats from Catholic voters.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2005 11:43 AM

Thomas is Catholic too. Why not separate Catholics and blacks from the Dems?

I don't think confirmation votes years ago matter. Dems will say "We didn't know how he would vote then" and "Times have changed."

Posted by: pj at June 4, 2005 11:50 AM


Do we really need to rerun Anita Hill?

Posted by: oj at June 4, 2005 11:57 AM

Why not? Time hasn't been as kind to Ms Hill as it has to Justice Thomas.

Posted by: erp at June 4, 2005 12:25 PM

Wanna bet?

Posted by: oj at June 4, 2005 12:32 PM

Justice Michael McConnell would be a productive pick. Democrats fought his appointment to the 10th circut but lost, in part, because two liberal law professors--Cass Sunstein and Laurence Tribe--wrote letters of support. In a Wall Street Journal Op-ed, McConnel called Roe v Wade "illegitimate" and an "embarrassment" to constitutional law. In addition he has written that the "lemon test" and other separation of church and state precedents are hostile to faith and the court should return to a neutral stance.

Why fight over Scalia for Chief Justice and then his replacement as an associate justice? While Scalia certainly deserves the top slot, it seems unlikely he would be miffed if not getting it would advance his judicial philosophy.

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Emilio Garza would be another excellent selection. He has written two opinions suggesting Roe v Wade be overturned.

Democrats would have a difficult, probably impossible, time blocking either Garza or McConnell

Posted by: david at June 4, 2005 12:44 PM

Scalia for Chief Justice is a no-brainer. Even my fairly left-of center Democratic friends acknowledge that he's qualified. Once even said he'd consider his commitment to being a Democrat if they filibuster that decision.

Posted by: ted welter at June 4, 2005 12:50 PM

I've leaned toward Thomas for Chief Justice as a) Dems blocking him now would hurt them with a large part of their base that is seriously considering why they support Dems and b) reports have indicated Thomas is more suited for the role as a team player/coordinator type.

Agree with PJ - the Dems now are pretty much a solid 35-40 against no matter who Bush nominates - might as well make them pay the price for it.

Posted by: AWW at June 4, 2005 1:05 PM

I'm pretty sure that Thomas isn't interested.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 4, 2005 1:23 PM

AWW is right. Scalia is smarter but Thomas would better fit the role of mediator.

But you just know the MSM is going to bring back Anita Hill. Given Reid's politcal tone-deafness having her testify (again) is not out of the question. Especially given David Brock's retractions.

Thomas has said many times that he never wants to go through anything like that ever again.

Posted by: Gideon at June 4, 2005 1:32 PM

"Do we really need to rerun Anita Hill?"

I have actually met Anita Hill. I say yes, lets rerun Anita Hill and have the Dems explain why this is a more serious issue than Clinton's escapades. It should be tres ammusant to have that dialogue.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 4, 2005 1:38 PM

i see your anita hill, and raise you a condi.

Posted by: cjm at June 4, 2005 2:04 PM

I actually prefer Janice Rogers Brown for Chief.

But Anita Hill's complaints were - what? He repeated a bad joke from the Exorcist? He asked her out? He wrote favorable letters of recommendation for her and helped her career? They boiled down to: he was conservative.

Liberals are the last American racists, and they've been covering up their racism by accusing conservatives of it for years. Time to purge it from its last hiding place.

Posted by: pj at June 4, 2005 2:30 PM

Well, it would be interesting to see Specter question Anita Hill again. He was the one Republican who could effectively corner her in a lie.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 4, 2005 4:19 PM

Within the last wtwo weeks, I have been led to believe that, if Rehnquist in fact resigns, as the WH now currently anticipates (along with most others), McConnell is the overwhelming first choice for CJ among those most closely advising the President. Scalia is not favored primarily because he is seen as someone who cannot unite the Court, and might in fact further drive O'Connor to the liberal side. Secondarily, his age (65) is against him. Thomas has informally indicated his lack of interest in the job, but I have been told that Bush has not totally given up on him and could possibly make one of those "your country needs you and your President will fight with you in the last ditch" calls. I understand that Bush has done everything but have the meeting with McC. I have been given stong indications that this is as close to a done deal as it gets, though there might be the appearance of a "process."

A fight over McC is expected, but McC is viewed as (a) More credible than any other sitting judge as a CJ candidate because of his strong academic record and support (knowing that some who supported him for his present post will not stick with him for the Supreme Court; (b) he has very strong support from the evangelical legal activist community. The next most credible candidate, considering only the issue of the necesary gravitas to be seen as a credible CJ candidate is John Roberts of the DC Circuit, but some have expressed concern that he might have a Souter problem.

Posted by: Dan at June 4, 2005 10:49 PM