Sunday, September 25, 2005

Putting Pressure on the Court Choice

If you need a reminder of just how tough this next Supreme Court nominee-pick is for the White House, there's a great pair of articles in the papers this morning that will serve well. In the NYT, David Kirkpatrick discusses the possibility of Republican opposition to Bush's next pick (from either far-right abortion opponents on the one hand, or some of the Gang of 14 centrists on the other). They've got quotes from Senators Chafee and Snowe suggesting (albeit implicitly) they'd be very unlikely to vote for someone who would overturn Roe, and mirror-quotes from Senators Coburn and Brownback saying the nominee must be "solid" on conservative issues (i.e. will vote to overturn Roe, even if they don't come right out and say that).

And then in the Post, there's a Michael Fletcher/Dan Balz piece on the other calculations that have to be playing into the whole thing - they've got the quotes calling for a female justice, or a Hispanic justice, and then the folks saying who cares who it is as long as he/she is a "reliable conservative." There's quite an explicit threat from the head of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC): "If the Republican Party wants to continue attracting voters to them, they're also going to have to deliver on the most crucial and important position in this country, which is the next vacancy." In other words, give us a Court seat, or we walk.

It would be easy to ask the president to put aside all the political calculations and just pick a qualified person. It would be nearly impossible to expect that could ever be the case. President Bush has a very important, very meaningful choice to make, and the ultimate decision may shake the American political world (at least for a few days) to its very core. Can he thread the needle again, pull another Roberts out of a hat? We'll soon see.


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