Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday Shows News

Some of the more interesting things from today's talk shows:

- At the end of "Fox News Sunday," Bill Kristol predicted that Chief Justice Rehnquist will soon retire, giving President Bush two vacancies on the Supreme Court to fill. He added that the president wants to name nominees before the end of July (he mentioned that he's heard an announcement could come in the vicinity of July 26-27), before he goes to his ranch for vacation. Bush "wants," Kristol said, to name Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as Chief Justice.

Well, who knows ... he was right about O'Connor.

- On "This Week," Senators Lindsey Graham and Mark Pryor of the "Gang of 14" both agreed that the definition of "extraordinary circumstances" was somewhat subjective. Graham continued to argue that ideological differences do not count ("there's nothing extraordinary about being conservative or liberal"), while Pryor admitted there might be certain ideological cases that would be extraordinary. His example (someone who thought Dred Scott should be the law of the land) was overblown, but clearly he's holding to the original "eye of the beholder" definition envisioned in the Gang of 14 agreement.

Graham urged the Senate to "treat the nominee decently," and added that he hopes the Senate can work through the nomination process without getting bogged down completely in it: "we need a Senate that can do more than one thing at a time."

I'll be adding to this thread periodically, since the shows are ongoing.

[Update: From "Meet the Press," Senator Hatch got a little bit cranky, saying that he thought Democrats are "demanding" that they pick the nominee, or at least control the process. Schumer responded "We know we're not going to pick the nominee. We know the nominee's going to be a conservative." He said that Democrats "are trying to reach out in every way," and that he and others "want to avoid the kind of fights we've seen." Hatch said he thinks this White House has done more consultation than any other he's worked with, and Schumer credited President Bush with starting the process well.

Hatch said he expects Rehnquist will retire, but asked when he would say only "before the end of the year." Both agreed that they are able to ask any nominee whatever questions they want ("no matter how stupid," said Hatch), but that the nominee wasn't obligated to answer.

Also, from "Face the Nation," word (via Mark Kilmer at RedHot, I haven't seen the show yet) that Senator Specter suggested nominating Justice O'Connor for Chief Justice, saying she might reconsider retiring if offered the top slot. Wouldn't that throw everybody for a loop! More on that later once I've seen the show. -- 11:08 a.m.]

[Update: There's a bit more information on the Specter (and apparently Leahy as well) suggestion that O'Connor be named Chief Justice here. Once I get ahold of a transcript or a video clip I'll have much more on this. -- 11:33 a.m.]

[Update: CBS now has a story up about today's "Face the Nation," but has not added a full transcript yet. Looks like I definitely made a mistake in watching Senators Hatch and Schumer on NBC instead of switching over. Asked if he thought Rehnquist would resign, Specter stuck to his call from several weeks ago and said "I doubt it very much. My own analysis is that the chief does not intend to step down as long as his health holds out. Having been engaged in a bout with cancer myself, I know that it's good to get up every morning and have something that you have to do, something that is important to do." Leahy agreed, saying he also thought Rehnquist wanted to stay on the Court.

Leahy noted that both he and Specter, along with Senators Frist and Reid, will be going to the White House on Tuesday to meet with the president about the vacancy on the Court. "I hope it's real consultation and not just check off the box, have some of the leaders down for breakfast," said the Vermonter. I commend the president for pick up the phone, he called Arlen, he called myself within an hour of time that Justice O'Connor resigned." He added that "obviously" the final choice of nominee is the president's, but "it could help him very much in having a nominee who could unite the country, not divide the country. After all, the Supreme Court's there for all of us. And I would hope that he would really actively seek our advice on somebody who might unite us."

And indeed, at the end, Senator Specter did turn to speculation. He said that perhaps Justice O'Connor could be persuaded to stay on the Court were she named to the Chief Justice's chair: "There had been a fair amount of talk about that possibility. And in her letter of resignation, she conditioned it on the confirmation of a successor. So there's some flexibility. Who knows? Some speculation is that she might reconsider if she were named chief justice. I think it would be very tempting if the president said, 'Justice O'Connor, you could help the country now.' She has received so much adulation that a confirmation proceeding would be more like a coronation, and she might be willing to stay on for a year or so." Crooks and Liars has the video up. Will post a link to the transcript once it appears.

Curious and curiouser. -- 2:31 p.m.]

[Update: Here's the transcript from "Face the Nation." -- 7:32 p.m.]


At 2:46 PM, Blogger Charles Amico said...

I would be interested in your thoughts regarding Tom Friedman's OpEd piece titled, "If it's a Muslim problem, it needs a Muslim solution." from Friday's paper. Specifically, what creative solutions can you envision or can offer to combat terrorism? I would love to see all of us Bloggers starting to really getting serious about solutions here, not whose right and whose wrong. We need more people to be solutionminded and your blog and other's can help everyone get more focused. Thanks.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Regarding O'Connor staying on as CJ, I think that would be wonderful. However, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

If she IS leaving to spend time with her Alzheimer-afflicted husband, then the year of service that Spector mentioned might just be too long.

Any word on how far the disease has progressed in Mr. O'Connor? What an absolutely horrid disease this is.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Charles - I've read the column and will try to put something out later on tonight.

heiuan - I agree, I don't think the possibility is very high of this scenario occurring. I have not heard much about how O'Connor's husband is doing, but having seen Alzheimer's first-hand, I know how things go with that disease, and I certainly wouldn't blame her for wanting to squeeze out every good moment she can.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger mauricio said...

At 11:19 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Charles, just wanted to let you know I've been thinking for a few hours now about your comment, and have read Friedman's piece. I haven't gotten my thoughts together enough yet though to write up a post on the subject. Terrorism is a subject I haven't covered too much here, and partly that's because I have a pretty hard time wrapping my head around it. It's a whole lot easier to think and write about problems and solutions in our own political system (even if they're not easy solutions), than it is to digest and analyze terror. There are so many facets and variables to consider, and so much is at stake that I find it an incredibly difficult area to blog about. Some of that stems from being completely flummoxed about what can be done to stop it (if anything). I totally agree with your point about the need to be solution-minded (and I have certainly tried to be so). I will keep thinking about this topic, and once I feel comfortable writing about it, I'll do so.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Charles Amico said...

Terrific, I will look forward to your ideas when they percolate up from the deep recesses of your mind. Maybe we need more bloggers who have the intellect to participate in a forum of ideas that could be bounced around, honed and offered up for consideration of the various interest groups such as think tanks, media and political leaders? I am struggling also but that is why it is worth doing because eventually we must or this will go on forever. Many are satisfied to accept that future, but I am not. I will check back and see if anything gets posted, but I like the way you write and I enjoy your comments, as they are well thought out.


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