So Much for Moderation

by on July 1st, 2005

My bet says Bush will throw the troops some red meat — pick a conservative.

The ink hadn’t dried on Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s resignation letter to President Bush before Christian conservatives began demanding the President replace Justice O’Connor with a conservative that will do their bidding. Here are some excerpts of what they are saying.

Operation Rescue calls upon President George W. Bush to live up to his pro-life commitment to voters in the last election by appointing a justice to the nation’s highest court who will uphold the Right to Life for all pre-born Americans. Now it is time to fulfill your obligation to God and to those who elected you, and appoint a staunchly pro-life judge to the Supreme Court. — Troy Newman, President, Operation Rescue

Justice O’Connor’s resignation is the most critical of any of the justices because her replacement will turn the direction of this court. We are already praying and working for a nominee that will not waffle as she did. — Reverend Robert Schenck, President, National Clergy Council.”

“I am confident that President Bush will name a replacement for Justice O’Connor who has the same judicial philosophy as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as he indicated he would in his reelection campaign. — Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

The President has the historic opportunity to keep faith with the promise he has repeated numerous times, which is to name justices who are like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. — Jan LaRue, Chief Counsel, Concerned Women of America.

President Bush must nominate someone whose judicial philosophy is crystal clear. And no one has been clearer about this than the President himself, who said during his campaign that he would appoint justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia. We have full confidence that he will carry out that pledge. — James C. Dobson, Ph.D. Focus on the Family.

Strange, no one mentioned Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Who knows though, maybe Bush will surprise me and pick a moderate. Under that theory, Bush picks Gonzalez and uses the nomination to triangulate the Christian Right, showing his independence from his base and gaining a little breathing room from moderates who are increasingly concerned that Christian conservatives may have too much influence. He can smooth the way by promising the Conservative Christian cabal to appoint a true believer when Rehnquist retires – after the mid-term elections. It would be a tough sell- but he has Pat Robertson’s point man, Jay Sekulow to help him.

If I had to bet though I’d say that Bush will throw a little red meat to the base and appoint someone to the right of Attila-the-Hun. Bush will use the pick to fire up the faithful heading into the mid-term elections and then when Democrats object – cast them as obstructionist who are keeping him and the Republican Congress from getting anything done.

It’s clear that the Bush team has already been thinking about how they can use the Supreme Court pick to advance their electoral strategy. C. Boyden Gray, a top advisor to the President’s judicial nomination process and chair of the Committee for Justice said today “We will be watching Senate Democrats and intend to link moderate and red states senators to their liberal Senate colleagues and outside groups. If Sens. Kennedy, Schumer, Durbin, Leahy, and Boxer attack, it will be Ben Nelson (Neb), Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (Ark), Robert Byrd (WVa), Bill Nelson (Fla), Tom Carper (Del), Debbie Stabenow (Mich), Jeff Bingaman (NMex), Evan Bayh (Ind), Byron Dorgan (ND), Mary Landrieu (La), and Tim Johnson (SD) who will be held accountable.”

So much for the fair review and vote on the Supreme Court nominee based on the merits of the candidate that the President said he wanted in his comments today.

Anyway, after the Republicans and their Conservative Christian friends wage war on Democrats in the Red States during the mid-term elections, Bush can appoint his buddy Gonzalez as Chief Justice, making his mark on history by appointing the Supreme Courts first Latino, and drawing Latino voters into the Republican tent as America heads into the next presidential election.

That’s my bet anyway.

John McDonald