July 5, 2005


Sens. resist grass roots on Gonzales (Geoff Earle, 7/06/05, The Hill)

Despite resistance from conservative groups, Senate Republicans say that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales remains a viable candidate to be President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. [...]

“I think Alberto Gonzales is a good man and a personal friend of mine, and I know him well,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a telephone interview. “I think some of the criticism has been not only unjustified but premature.” [...]

Cornyn predicted that Gonzales could be confirmed, noting that he was easily confirmed to be attorney general and that it would difficult for Democrats to raise new concerns about him after such a short time.

“I do think that people are shooting in the dark when they are speculating on how he might rule on any given case,” Cornyn added, “and I don’t believe the president is going to be susceptible to any effort to pressure him.”

The Senate on Feb. 3 approved Gonzales’s nomination to be attorney general, 60-36. Not one Republican voted against the nomination, which attracted controversy because of Gonzales’s role in the administration’s policies on interrogating prisoners of war.

The six Democratic senators who backed Gonzales were Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Ken Salazar (Colo.).

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 5, 2005 10:52 PM

Even if you can get by angering the base over Gonzalez NRO and others have pointed out that Gonzalez would be like 1/2 a justice because he would have to recuse himself from a bunch of cases due to his work as White House counsel and now AG - lessening his effectiveness.

Bush will do what he wants but it seems other conservative nominees could get confirmed easier and with less downside than Gonzalez.

Posted by: AWW at July 5, 2005 11:06 PM

Gee, most of those 6 Democrats sound awfully familiar ...

Posted by: ghostcat at July 5, 2005 11:21 PM

That's not exactly half the Court's workload.

Posted by: oj at July 5, 2005 11:22 PM

Any jurist who is willing to say that torturing terrorists is OK really ought to be on the Supreme Court.

If nothing else, it would send a very clear signal abroad.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 6, 2005 12:48 AM

I keep on hearing jibes about him being a Latin American Souter.

What's up with that?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 6, 2005 5:52 AM

OJ - True. And perhaps the hyperventilating on the blogs that Gonzalez is a Latin Souter are misplaced.

That said, It appears Gonzalez is not looked upon favorably by conservatives. There are already reports of GOP senators being inundated with No to Gonzalez literature. They will probably vote for Gonzalez to avoid going against Bush but why force them into that position? Red State Dems would be left off the hook as they could say Gonzalez wasn't conservative enough for them. And the Gitmo issue might push some RINOs into the No camp. And finally if Gonzalez is chosen and accepted Bush must find another AG, if Gonzalez is chosen and rejected his effectiveness as AG drops considerably.

I repeat my point that Bush can get a hispanic or a decent conservative on the bench without Gonzalez's issues

Posted by: AWW at July 6, 2005 9:10 AM


Because wooing Latinos matters more than Senators' comfort levels.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 9:24 AM

OJ - then name Garza, Estrada, or a few other Latin American names that have come up and conservatives don't have a problem with. And if Bush replaces Gonzalez with a non-hispanic AG does that offset the benefit of naming Gonzalez to the Supreme Court.

Another idea I've seen is to name Coryn, the Senator from Texas, to the Court and replace him with Henry Bonilla as Senator from Texas.

Posted by: AWW at July 6, 2005 9:54 AM


Why wouldn't he give it to one of his best friends? Assuming he wants it, which seems to be an open question.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 10:00 AM

There does seem to be a love affair with Gonzalez. There are so many others who are better and better qualified; his nomination is utterly senseless.

Did the Left float Gonzalez's name? He is the least worst to them because Abortion is the most important issue even if nobody says it.
Or did the White House really float a trial balloon like Novak said a couple weeks ago?

On the campaign trail last year, 100% of the Get Out the Voters in our town were involved in homeschooling and devoted to the Pro-Life cause. Bush isn't running again, but he is going to want their support in 2006.
Despite all that, I believe Bush to be sincerely pro-life and has taken many, many hits for being so. Nominating Gonzalez, even though a friend, would be out of character for Bush.

Posted by: Emily B. at July 6, 2005 10:39 AM

I meant his nomination "would be" utterly senseless.

Posted by: Emily B at July 6, 2005 10:47 AM


We already have those votes.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 11:09 AM


They can stay home. They can go fishing. They can go on an outing with the kids. They can visit the local zoo(pace Mr. Shropshire). There's lots of stuff for them to do other than vote.

If they perceive that their votes are being taken for granted and that their wants, desires and beliefs are being ingored or insulted, they'll just do something else.

I'd like to find out more about Gonzales(and my natural inclination is to support him), but I'd like someone to direct me to a sensible opponent of his, IOW not Paul Weyrich. (BTW, wasn't he supposed to be quitting politics in disgust at the American voters a few years ago? Or is he quitting right after Alec Baldwin emigrates?)

Posted by: bart at July 6, 2005 11:24 AM

Just go read the bigger Christian blog sites if you doubt that a Gonzales nom would be a major problem. Literally millions of religious conservatives didn't vote for Bush in 2000 because of his last name, and they will indeed stay home in the future. This won't be the last justice Bush picks (probably not even the only one this year...), so why alienate your fiercest supporters from the start?

Posted by: b at July 6, 2005 11:53 AM

No, they can't. They'll turn out and vote.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 11:56 AM

Bart, bubele, tell me you're not still smarting over that.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 6, 2005 12:07 PM

These people, myself included, were the workers. Going door to door is extremely important. I think most political scientists agree on that; the degree turnout increases, I don't know. One estimate I've seen is about 15%; but I haven't looked into it that much. It is probably even more important in between presidential elections when fewer people are paying attention. We show up knock on the door and ask them, face to face, to vote.

The GOP used to not have this kind of power like the Dems have always had with Labor, who make up most of their Get Out the Voters.

Remember their surprise in 2004 when Labor said they could not conceive of possibly doing more and were mystified it wasn't enough? There was a high turnout, but in the past couple of elections, the conventional wisdom has been proven wrong. Alot of this is because of the new foot soldiers on the ground for the GOP.

(BTW, in 2004 Labor thugs stormed two GOP headquarters on both sides of us, Tampa and Orlando. We think they didn't hit ours because it was brand new and in a small town, but it would have been disastrous for them in p.r. as we affectionately called it, "The Daycare", due to all the kids, from babies to teens, who were always there.)

Posted by: Emily B. at July 6, 2005 12:13 PM

Turnout went up for both parties equally. It's not really a function of get out the vote.

Choosing a nominee perceived as mildly more conservative isn't really worth the trade-off.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 12:20 PM

I'm not a political scientist and don't know the effect of the new muscle the GOP has acquired in the past few years, but I don't understand "isn't really worth the trade-off" What do we get if Gonzalez is the nominee that we otherwise wouldn't get?

The Left a little less mad at us?

Posted by: Emily B. at July 6, 2005 12:30 PM

Credibility with Latino voters.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 1:19 PM

He'll pick Miguel Estrada

Posted by: David Reeves at July 6, 2005 3:03 PM

The religious conservatives are just being taught some manners by GWB. They put him in a bind with their public criticisms of Gonzales even before Bush has had a chance to choose. I guess they look at him as their lapdog now, but W is having no part of it. It doesn't help Bush's image with the country to be seen acquiescing to Religious Right demands. There are centrists in Bush's constituency, and they've never sat easily next to the theocons. Bush can lose votes from either end, depending how he handles things.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 6, 2005 4:48 PM

No, he can't. There's nowhere else for them to go and they won't leave over a judge.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 5:02 PM

that must be why dole won in '96

Posted by: cjm at July 6, 2005 5:13 PM


Yes, Dole did nearly knock off an incumbent in a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity and likely would have without Perot in the race.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 5:20 PM

why would perot matter, if gop voters don't have anywhere else to go ? voting for perot or not voting at all, it's all the same. the fact of the matter is, that people of principle will stay home rather than vote for someone they disapprove of. are you telling us you are a realpolitik kind of guy, because that is so 90's, ya know ?

Posted by: cjm at July 6, 2005 5:30 PM


People of principle in particular won't stay home. All politics is realpolitik.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 5:36 PM


They did by the millions in 2000. And what do realpolitik and 'people of principle' have to do with each other?

As for me, I think of the SCT nominations as an example of coalitional politics. The Religious Right was a major contributor to both of Bush's victories and certainly to the Congressional victories. For that, they are supposed to get repaid. At the very least, any putative GOP nominee should be someone that the leadership of the GOP religious right from Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell to even James Dobson find acceptable and are willing to stand up in a public forum and declare him to be acceptable to them. It's merely a variant of 'Clear him with Sidney.'(I doubt that there is anyone short of Cardinal Torquemada who would be acceptable to Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich).

If I get what I want on economic policy and foreign and defense policy, I'll put up with a little religious zealotry on the court. It's a small price.

Posted by: bart at July 7, 2005 9:35 AM


Having principles doesn't require you to live in fantasyland, though the Left would prefer that the religious would.

Posted by: oj at July 7, 2005 10:11 AM