July 21, 2005


Democrats Say Nominee Will Be Hard to Defeat (Peter Baker and Charles Babington, July 21, 2005, Washington Post)

The White House and its allies opened their campaign to confirm Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court with a mix of soft-sell persuasion and hard-pitch pressure yesterday as Senate Democrats plotted strategy for responding to a nomination they conceded could be hard to defeat. [...]

An array of interest groups on the left began mobilizing opposition to Roberts, but reticent Senate Democrats demonstrated little eagerness for an all-out war against him. Some Democratic senators laid the groundwork for a struggle focused on prying loose documents related to Roberts's career in government and using any resistance by the administration against him. Yet as the day progressed, Democrats seemed increasingly resigned to the notion that they cannot stop his appointment.

The key barometer came from members of the Gang of 14 senators who forged a bipartisan accord in May to avoid a showdown over lower-court appointments. Two Republican members of the group, John McCain (Ariz.) and John W. Warner (Va.), said the Roberts selection would not trigger the "extraordinary circumstances" clause of the agreement that would justify a Democratic filibuster.

Under Senate rules, a filibuster would be the only procedural way the minority party could stop the nomination. By the end of the day, though, Democrats held out little prospect of a filibuster.

"Everybody ought to cool their jets on this and let the process work," said Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), a Democratic member of the group. "Going in, it looks good" for Roberts, he said.

Democrats and Allies Lament Lack of Record (ADAM NAGOURNEY and CARL HULSE, 7/21/05, NY Times)
Democrats and liberal advocacy groups scrambled on Wednesday to see if they could - or should - build a case against the Supreme Court nomination of John G. Roberts. They said they would demand memorandums, briefs and other documents he wrote as a deputy in the solicitor general's office to flesh out an understanding of the views of this conservative newcomer to the federal judiciary.

In an atmosphere of evident frustration, the machinery that had been assembled to fight a Supreme Court nomination by Mr. Bush struggled to deal with a nominee whose two years as a federal appeals court judge had produced only a scant record that could be used to measure what kind of justice he might be.

No Democratic senator stepped forward to oppose Judge Roberts outright, in contrast to what several Democrats said would most likely have happened if Mr. Bush had chosen one of the more conservative judges on his list.

The Democratic Party has reached such heights (or depths) of ineptitude that seating anyone to the Right of William Brennan on the Court represents a defeat for them. They continue to use the rhetoric of a majority party, raising the hopes of their base beyond what they can conceivably achieve.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 21, 2005 9:44 AM

This is the moment when it will really come home to them how powerless they have become. Their current coalitional strategy is built around the defense of the Supreme Court as the last bastion of their ideological program. If NARAL and PFAW and MoveOn cannot even mobilize their Senate operatives to mount an obstructionist last stand, then they truly have to head for the matresses.

For Senate democrats, it is the red pill/blue pill choice. Do they stay in the comforting fantasy that they represent the "mainstream" America, or do they face the ugly reality that they've sold out to a narrow ideological cult? The cult leaders have given the command for them to drink the koolaid, and they have the cup to their lips, agonizing over the decision that they have to make.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 21, 2005 9:58 AM

This is so frustrating. It would be so nice to have an opposition party that was rooted in vision rather than ideology. They can't tell the difference.

"Cult Democrats" to describe NARAL and PFAW and MoveOn ... hmmm, has sort of a ring to it.

Posted by: Scott Ferguson at July 21, 2005 10:13 AM

They won't ba able to stop a more forthrightly 'conservative' nominee next year (or possibly sooner), either, no matter how much the leftist hive buzzes. That is when some 'red' state Democrats may decide to switch to the GOP, in advance of the 2006 elections.

McCain should seduce Ken Salazar - imagine the lift he would get from that. Even Mary Landreiu isn't beyond that possibility. If she wants another term or two in D.C., she will have to switch.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 21, 2005 10:57 AM

I could see Ben Nelson switching, the most conservative dem of them all. He was gently mocking the lib interest groups on PBS right after the announcement of John Roberts. He held up a bunch of papers in his hand saying "these" were sent to him from the liberal groups attacking Edith Clement when they thought it would be her. A dramatic show on the part of a Dem to demonstrate the libs will attack whoever the nominee is.

Posted by: Emily B. at July 21, 2005 11:08 AM

To reinforce the obvious: McCain has been and will continue to be central in the SCOTUS campaign.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 21, 2005 11:39 AM

Elections do ultimately have consequences. Hard cheese for the Dems. I do echo Scott's sentiment that the country does need a real opposition party.

Posted by: at July 21, 2005 11:46 AM

Scott and anon,

The reality is that the Democrats can fight elections only on these fringe issues. They are bought and paid for by Corporate America, just as much as the GOP is alleged to be. Do you think George Soros cares about whether any unemployed factory worker finds a job? So, economic issues are off the table entirely.

The main backing for Democrats comes not from labor, which has been eviscerated, but from the coterie of weirdos Robert correctly derides as 'Cult Democrats.' These are people for whom these fringe issues that activate only other weirdos are the only things that matter. Since many of the same types of people infest the MSM, they naturally fixate on them too.

Posted by: bart at July 21, 2005 12:52 PM

it's sad that al queda has to do double duty as our enemy and as our opposition party. they should get the matching funds from the fec, not the democults.

Posted by: cjm at July 21, 2005 1:23 PM