May 5, 2006


What’s Behind the New Fight Over Judges (Byron York, 5/05/06, National Review)

Imagine that, a year and a half ago, you said this to a Republican senator: "Democrats will cave and you'll get William Pryor confirmed. "You'll get Janice Rogers Brown. You'll get Priscilla Owen. And oh—by the way—you'll also get John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court."

They would have thought that was a big, big win.

But there were nominees left on the side of the action, their situation unaffected by the so-called Gang of 14's negotiations—among them Kavanaugh, Terrence Boyle, William Myers, William Haynes, and Henry Saad. What about them?

Each situation is different. Democrats have made a variety of complaints about Kavanaugh, but they can't stand him for one basic reason: He worked for independent counsel Kenneth Starr. And that is not enough for Democrats to block him. Indeed, Senate sources now suggest that Kavanaugh is pretty much a "done deal." Once Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter agreed to give Democrats another shot at him—a second hearing, set for next Tuesday—members of the Gang of 14 have made clear that there will be no filibuster. So Kavanaugh, who has the invaluable advantage of Specter's strong support, is most likely in.

In light of that, it appears that what Democrats really wanted in the Kavanaugh case was an opportunity to vent. Kavanaugh has worked in the Bush White House counsel's office and is now the staff secretary of the White House. Democrats believe—"hope" would be a more accurate word—that there might be some evidence that Kavanaugh was involved with making policy on, say, the treatment of prisoners or the surveillance of suspects in the war on terror. There apparently is no such evidence, but Kavanaugh's hearing will give Democrats a chance to talk—and talk and talk and talk—about a few of their favorite subjects. "Tuesday will be the way for them to get the following words in the paper: torture, abuse of power, illegal wiretaps," says one Senate aide. And then Kavanaugh will move on to confirmation.

There's no need to imagine it--this is precisely what Republicans were told when John McCain manuevered the Democrats into the Gang.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 5, 2006 4:45 PM

What! No WMD, leaks, FEMA?

Posted by: Genecis at May 5, 2006 4:58 PM

Having the Democrats vent on how they want terrorists treated real well is going to go over so good.

Posted by: Mikey at May 6, 2006 11:54 AM