Carol Platt Liebau: Supreme Silliness

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Supreme Silliness

The MSM salivates over the prospect of an internecine fight within the Republican Party -- exhibit A, this piece in today's Los Angeles Times, and the piece assumes the widely-discussed probability that Chief Justice Rehnquist will resign this week.

Don't get me wrong . . . IF Attorney General Gonzales is as "moderate" as he's generally portrayed, I hope he won't be one of President Bush's nominees. President Bush DID promise to nominate justices in the mold of Thomas and Scalia, and if (IF) Gonzales isn't, then it is a violation of a campaign promise (and a clearly articulated platform upon which the President was elected twice).

That being said, if he nominates Gonzales, I'll support him. As Hugh Hewitt points out, the President knows him well -- and I do trust the President's judgment. Moreover, there's no use in sending a Justice Gonzales to the Supreme Court in a mood of bitter resentment toward conservatives.

And I think the protests by conservative groups has served the President well by portraying him as willing to rebuke his allies, as well as his adversaries.

But any conservative who cares about the composition of the Court -- and its jurisprudence's effects on American culture -- must hope that the President will resist the calls to send up one moderate, one conservative for one moderate, one conservative. That

(1) Sends the message that Republicans feel obligated to maintain "ideological balance" on the Court, as the term is defined by Democrats AND

(2) That the President is afraid of the Democratic threats regarding the nomination of a new Justice AND

(3) Deprives the President of the chance to return the Supreme Court to its proper constitutional role.

Finally, as I noted a couple of days ago, there is no strategic value to be gained by sending up a "balanced pair" UNLESS the Dems promise to accept both of them (and that promise had better be iron-clad -- just think how quickly the "Gang of 14" pledges are being tossed overboard). Without such a promise, the Dems will be in a perfect position to claim moderation -- for supporting the moderate -- even as they rip the conservative to bits.


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