Carol Platt Liebau: More thoughts on Judge Clement

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More thoughts on Judge Clement

Here is a very sketchy profile of Judge Clement.

And it should be noted that over at Confirm Them, the potential of Clement's being nominated is not being greeted with unalloyed joy by conservatives -- who don't know her and fear she could be another distressing "stealth" candidate like Souter.

Someone at Confirm Them writes that she has been "keeping her nose clean" in hopes of getting this nomination. And the Washington Post notes that she "has not attracted attention for her judicial opinions . ..." And Slate weighs in: "She hasn't written anything notable off the bench (or at least nothing that's come to light yet), and most of her judicial decisions have been in relatively routine and uncontroversial cases." She is a member of the Federalist Society, however.

Her whole record shrieks of caution in terms of expressing her views. To me, this means one of two things: (1) She is a Souter II, who understands what it takes to get on the Supreme Court in a political era dominated by Republicans; or (2) that she is a real conservative who is biding her time, and doesn't want to be deemed "too controversial" to get nominated (learning, perhaps, from the experience of her Fifth Circuit colleague Edith Jones). The latter would be great.

Trying to decipher her views from her judicial opinions is difficult. Here's one where she was willing to knock down an excessive jury award to a plaintiff. Good, as far as it goes. Not too revealing, though.

If she's the nominee, I'll stand by her. I would note, in passing, that it's a shame that "diversity politics" dictates that a woman must hold the seat -- even though it's tough to argue that she's been chosen for her intellect and qualifications alone over a stellar field including Luttig, Roberts, McConnell and a host of others.


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