Monday, October 31, 2005

Harriet Miers, Round 1 1/2

NYT, yesterday:

With the announcement of a new Supreme Court nominee expected as early as Monday, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, warned President Bush on Sunday not to pick one of the candidates said to be on the president's short list, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.

"I think it would create a lot of problems," Mr. Reid said on "Late Edition" on CNN.
You think Bush took that as a double-dog dare?

BBC WorldService interviewed Jonathan Turley (not, so far as I can tell, available on-line), who said this nomination has "filibuster" written all over it. They also report Alito handed down an opinion declaring the Family Leave Act unconstitutional.

Unlike Roberts, in other words, Alito has a record of published judicial opinions, and while they may warm the heart of Tony Scalia, there's no reason to think they will win the hearts and minds of Americans. Alito will have two choices: defend his record of extreme judicial opinions (the blogosphere will be rich with those by now), or deny his own published opinions.

And, of course, hearings on this matter aren't likely to happen before January. Look for the Dems to slow it down, at any rate, and push the hearing off to next year, knowing that, in an election year, with a GOP President hovering below 40%, Alito will be even less attractive.

Bush wants a quick "up or down" vote. How likely is he to get that, just now?

Here's the whole thing, in a nutshell, from the NYT this morning:

Polls show Mr. Bush's popularity at a new low. American casualties continue to mount in Iraq, the president's domestic agenda is in limbo, and the White House is reeling from the indictment of I. Lewis Libby Jr., a top aide, a day after the withdrawal of Mr. Bush's previous Supreme Court nominee, Harriet E. Miers.

But because the nominee would succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the swing vote on abortion rights and other social issues, any pick that pleased conservatives would most likely meet ferocious resistance from the left. The withdrawal of Ms. Miers has emboldened the left and the right to step up their demands, and a second failed pick will only compound the pressure.

On Sunday, Senator Reid and other Democrats sought to capitalize on the president's political vulnerabilities as he picked a nominee.

"If he wants to divert attention from all of his many problems, he can send us somebody that is going to create a lot of problems," Mr. Reid said. "I think this time he would be ill advised to do that. But the right wing, the radical right wing, is pushing a lot of his buttons, and he may just go along with them."
Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

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