Carol Platt Liebau: No "Free Pass" for Republican Senators

Saturday, September 24, 2005

No "Free Pass" for Republican Senators

In a profoundly silly story, The New York Times is trying to pretend that there is trouble brewing among Republicans in the Senate with regard to the next Supreme Court nomination. This story, headlined "Republicans Say Next Court Nominee Won't Get Free Pass" is apparently the best it can do.

From the moderate side, it quotes Lincoln Chafee (RINO-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R sometimes-ME).

Mr. Chafee said he would apply a more skeptical standard to the next nominee because of the balance of the court and might even oppose a jurist similar to Judge Roberts. "I will be looking very carefully" at the next nominee's views on privacy rights, "separation of church and state," and the scope of federal power, he said.

Lincoln Chafee is up for reelection next year. Obviously, he's posturing for the general election, but it's worth his while to remember who his friends are -- and to keep in mind that he may have a conservative primary opponent. He should count himself lucky that he's got White House support given his votes against Priscilla Owen and William Pryor.

Olympia Snowe supported Priscilla Owens and Janice Rogers Brown, but has now told The Times that she might not support either for the Supreme Court, adding this nonsensical gem:

""This is certainly a different level of evaluation," Ms. Snowe said, "especially because of the balance of power on the court."

Snowe isn't being targeted in her re-election race, so she has no political excuse for her posturing. And note the contrast -- set forth in the linked piece -- between the liberal intransigents that the paper quotes, and the conservatives. Tom Coburn notes that he wouldn't vote for anyone who would tip his/her hand on Roe v. Wade, a proper position. Trent Lott ends up noting that he could vote for almost anyone President Bush is likely to send up. Not quite the same as the silliness Chafee/Snowe are peddling.

Seems to me that the recalcitrance is coming from only one side of the party -- and it's not the right wing.


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