July 20, 2005


Introducing John Roberts: A great conservative sigh of relief. (MANUEL MIRANDA, July 20, 2005, Opinion Journal)

Last night George Bush kept his campaign promise that he would name a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas. And I for one am ashamed that I ever doubted him. I should have understood the president better. In John Roberts, the president got what he wanted, and we conservatives did too.

Conservatives, Pleased With Pick, Say Bush Kept Promise (Peter Wallsten and Edwin Chen, July 20, 2005, LA Times)

Since July 1, when Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement, social conservatives have fretted that President Bush might name a moderate to fill her seat — a betrayal, they warned, of Bush's campaign promises and their unwavering support for his reelection.

But those jitters turned to jubilation Tuesday night as leading conservatives praised appellate court Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as an ideological soul mate.

"There's no question that President Bush is a promise keeper," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which is marshaling support among evangelicals for Bush's judicial nominees.

The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, described Roberts, who has served for two years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as an "all-star" on key social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

"Conservatives who supported George W. Bush have no reason to be disappointed," Sheldon said. "He has more than fulfilled his pledge."

Paying ‘the Base’: Ever loyal, President Bush is rewarding conservatives with his choice of John Roberts—a man that liberals will have difficulty blocking. (Howard Fineman, July 20, 2005, Newsweek)
George W. Bush keeps surprising the wise guys. They keep thinking that he’s going to be something other than what he is and that he will do something other than what he says he will do. Well, he and Karl Rove built his career on West Texas Bible Belt conservatism, with deep ancestral ties to the Establishment “up East.” And it was that president—half Cambridge, all “Come to Jesus”—who chose John G. Roberts Jr. for the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the words of the old Texas cliché, President Bush is the kind of leader, and person, who “dances with the one that brung him.” He is as loyal as a hunting dog. On a personal level, his inner circles stay inner and stay around him forever. It’s the same with politics. He owes “the base”—religious conservatives, corporate conservatives, Federalist Society libertarian conservatives—and he pays.

This kind of personality is rare in politics, even rarer in the city of Washington. Bush likes to pull surprises, but only on matters of timing. George Bush hides in plain sight, a tactic that works here, since everyone always assumes the game is all about misdirection. Bush said he wanted to choose justices in the Scalia-Thomas tradition. Why would anyone think that he wouldn’t follow through on that promise?

Because they're ineducable?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 20, 2005 4:50 PM

"Ever loyal, President Bush is rewarding conservatives with his choice of John Robertsa man that liberals will have difficulty blocking."

He's not "rewarding" us, he is one of us.
During the campaign, I helped sell pins when I helped man the headquarters. Everything was from, and sanctioned by, the RNC. Most of the pins were bought in bulk by a woman while attending the convention. Anyways, the most popular were these two pro-life pins. One was an elephant w/ "GOP" underneath with dangling precious feet. The absolute most popular one, though, was a decorative circle w/ "George W. Bush" on it with the dangling feet. They were gone within 24 hours; most of which were bought the volunteers. She didn't think they would be so popular. We got so many requests for them (because we were always wearing them), but we never could get anymore. So I went to ebay out of curiousity, and out of the hundreds, they didn't have the Bush feet pin. I've been back many times since and have never seen them. They are treasured dearly by those of us who have them and probably could never imagine selling them.
I thought of them alot during this whole brouhaha. They meant so much to us at the time; it was such an overt gesture to say that President Bush was deeply commited to the pro-life cause. Nothing like them had ever appeared in other presidential campaigns.

Political memorabilia collectors: I'm not selling!

Posted by: Emily B. at July 20, 2005 8:55 PM

Well, the plain and simple fact is he isn't in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. And thank God for it. He is in the mold of the Chief Justice, a mn who should be honored as a hero by conservatives behind only Goldwater and Reagan.

I remember when Rehnquist was regularly the lone dissnet in the many limpid, go with the presumed flow of the East Coast elite defined culture of the Burger Court. It was often news when another Justice actually joined him.

History has since vindicated the Chief in many areas, with the votes of Thomas and Scalia more often than not, but NOT due to their leadership.
I like both men, as individuls, but they have not shown Rehnquist's perserverance and coalition building skills. I am afraid that, at this point, Scalia's scathing sarcasm might well drive Kennedy forever into the Stevens camp, a fear the White House shared-- the word went out very early that he would not be elevated to the CJ post if Rehnquist retired and that fear was the reason.

People like Ann Coulter who oppose Roberts because he is not a Scalia or Thomas have no sense of history, or of how the Supreme Court, as an institution, actually works. I am thrilled by Roberts' appointment because I do think he is a Rehnquist disciple. My fondest wish-- even more than any desire, though great, I have for positions Roberts will take on substantive issues-- is that the Chief is as pleased by this appointment as I think he is. As I said, the man is a hero.

Posted by: Dan at July 20, 2005 9:08 PM

If Scalia's sarcasm is too much for Anthony Kennedy, it says far more about Kennedy than it does about Scalia.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 20, 2005 10:24 PM

Why would anyone think that he wouldnt follow through on that promise?

Because they're ineducable?


Posted by: Ptah at July 21, 2005 4:16 AM

' the basereligious conservatives, corporate conservatives, Federalist Society libertarian conservatives '

Who else is there? lonbud is only one vote.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 21, 2005 6:23 AM