July 18, 2005


Pillow-Talk Pressure for a Woman in O'Connor's Robe (ELISABETH BUMILLER, 7/18/05, NY Times)

When Laura Bush said in a television interview last week that she hoped her husband would name a woman to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, a lot of people saw it as a top item on the first lady's "honey-do" list. But Republicans close to the White House said that people had it reversed. Mrs. Bush, they said, was not so much nudging her husband as reflecting his thinking. [...]

Republicans say there are three strong reasons to name a woman to replace Justice O'Connor.

First, they believe it will be more difficult politically for Democrats to demonize a woman, even though Democrats were hardly shy about criticizing Priscilla R. Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, two conservative judges Mr. Bush nominated for appeals court seats who won Senate confirmation only after protracted battles.

Second, Republicans believe that confirmation hearings will be easier to manage with a woman as the nominee. Again, in this view, women are harder to attack and more sympathetic, even though Democrats say they are far more interested in a nominee's ideology and past court decisions than the nominee's sex.

Third, and not least, Republicans say that replacing a woman with a woman makes good political sense, particularly since there is only one other woman on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's announcement last week that his retirement was not imminent also meant that Mr. Bush could not name a man for Justice O'Connor's seat with the expectation that he could hold a woman in immediate reserve for the chief justice's seat.

Republicans add that a woman will be well received by the public, a view borne out by a USA Today-CNN-Gallup poll last week that showed overwhelming support - three out of four people surveyed - for another woman on the court.

So far, the women most often mentioned as nominees are Judges Edith H. Jones and Edith Brown Clement, both of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans. Judge Jones, who is strongly anti-abortion, was a Supreme Court finalist in 1990 for the first President Bush, who picked Justice David H. Souter instead. Republicans close to the White House say that they are unsure of Judge Clement's views on abortion and that there is little to be gleaned on the subject from her past decisions.

What they really need is a Latino woman.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 18, 2005 1:07 PM

Even better, a handicapped woman who can claim to both Latino and black -- and there are a few who fall into all those categories. If only to watch the Democrats and the NYT try to figure out how to destroy her.

Posted by: Jim Miller at July 18, 2005 1:23 PM

OJ - How about my wife? Ok, so she's not a judge or a lawyer, but she would be tough on criminals and thinks we'd be better off if the government kept its nose out of our lives...

Another bonus: if she gets the job, I can stay home with the Boy all day, just like you...

Posted by: Foos at July 18, 2005 1:33 PM

Being a lesbian would be a welcome bonus too.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 18, 2005 1:38 PM

Ali - Then my wife is out of the running.

Posted by: Foos at July 18, 2005 1:45 PM

Why are we not ashamed to be writing like a bunch of armpit-sniffing quota-mongers?

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 18, 2005 2:58 PM

That's no armpit.

Posted by: Noel at July 18, 2005 3:04 PM

Lou Gots:

Because when the size of the third most powerful group of people in the nation is limited to nine, and they are appointed, not elected, and they serve for life, there will necessarily be a quota system.

It's unavoidable.

"Tootin' Ted" Kennedy has been in the U.S. Senate for longer than I've been alive, and he's coming up on only the 21st vote he'll make for a Supreme Court justice.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 18, 2005 3:52 PM

Foos: It is a great honor.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 18, 2005 6:46 PM

"What they really need is a Latino woman"

I hear ya Bro. What we all need is a Latino woman but, the court doesn't need a cook. It needs a man.

Posted by: NC3 at July 18, 2005 7:58 PM

Lou - I was speaking ironically, as I think most people here guessed. And I can speak for other commenters, but I would not be surprised if some of them were too.

But I was being serious about one point: I really would enjoy watching the NYT and the Democrats try to figure out how to destroy such a nominee.

Posted by: Jim Miller at July 18, 2005 8:02 PM

Appoint Hillary. She could be the first Latino woman justice like Bill was the first Black president. Civil War is starting to sound better all the time.

The Morning Call
Speaking to the nations' largest Hispanic civil rights organization, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., received a standing ovation Monday when she vowed her support for legislation that would allow illegal immigrant high school students to attend college.

Clinton made her remarks on various issues of importance to the country's Latinos at the annual conference of National Council of La Raza, attended by 23,000 people at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

The event started Friday and has included a rally in center Philadelphia in support of the so-called DREAM Act that would benefit illegal students.

On Tuesday, the chairpersons of both the Republican and Democratic national committees are schedule to address the conference, which NCLR officials say is a first for the organization and a sign that both parties have heightened their interest in the growing Latino population and its votes.

Posted by: NC3 at July 18, 2005 10:01 PM

Being a lesbian would be a welcome bonus too.

You left out the part about being in a wheelchair, too.

And isn't "La Raza" Spanish for "Klan"?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 19, 2005 1:39 AM