Carol Platt Liebau: Judicial "Fireworks"

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Judicial "Fireworks"

Watching the Sunday morning shows reveals, more plainly than anything, the left's playbook for handling the pending Supreme Court nomination.

All of them -- from Dianne Feinstein to Nan Aron (both on "Fox News Sunday") to Patrick Leahy (on "Meet the Press") -- are calling for a "consensus conservative" and working hard to define Sandra Day O'Connor as a "moderate conservative" (all, of course, in preparation for denominating whomever the President chooses -- except maybe Alberto Gonzales -- as an "extremist conservative"). Those who disagree with the "moderate conservative" label for Justice O'Connor might want to point out this piece from the conservative publication Human Events, which notes in a piece reprinted from July of 1981 that "High Court Nominee Disturbs Conservatives".

Patrick Leahy, in particular, repeatedly asserted his hope that all would go smoothly and his expectations of seeing that hearings go well. Don't be fooled. He is one of the most partisan (and vicious) senators around, and was even willing to leak classified information to a reporter for partisan political gain during the Iran-Contra affair (as a result, he resigned from the Senate Intelligence Committe).

Likewise, Dianne Feinstein made it very clear that the Democrats would not tolerate a timeline for confirmation -- even though Mitch McConnell pointed out that the average time for confirming a justice has been 72 days, and there are 92 days between Justice O'Connor's resignation and the first Monday in October. This suggests that Dems may be considering the "John Bolton" strategy (which also worked with Miguel Estrada) of a filibuster and/or dragging out a nomination with repeated and unreasonable requests for documents.

It should also be noted that "Gang of 14" member Lindsay Graham offered Democrats an "extraordinary circumstances" playbook during his appearance on "Fox News Sunday" -- apparently, ideology isn't an extraordinary circumstance, but character and temperament would be. Dems doubtless will take it as an invitation to attack both in the hopes of persuading some of the self-congratulatory "gang" to stand for a filibuster; President Bush's nominee had better have the temperament of Ronald Reagan and a personal history purer than Caesar's wife -- because the left will be trolling for those who can spin fantasy smear tales like Anita Hill did.

Happily, unlike the situation in the Bork and Thomas hearings, conservative activists are ready to counter the predictable smear campaign from the left.


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