Morning Report 7/8/05
Supreme Court Vacancies: Problem or Dilemma?

Might as well plead guilty of contempt right now

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White House

No justice: O'Connor swears in Gonzales in February, as Bush and the new AG's family look on

We're facing a classic Hobson's choice when it comes to the Supreme Court. In other words, no choice at all. Makes me want to borrow a horse from ol' Tommy Hobson and ride away as fast as I can. Unfortunately, George W. Bush is the stableboy.

Only in the muck of this Zero Decade could we actually find ourselves hoping that William Rehnquist will stay on the Supreme Court.

Only in these crazy times do we find the right-wingers opposed to Bush's naming of Alberto Gonzales to the court because Gonzales is too liberal.

Only now would we lament the loss of Sandy O'Connor from the court.

And here's something really heartening. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told the Reno Gazette-Journal on July 6:

    I had lunch at the Supreme Court 10 days ago and at my table were Sandra Day O’Connor, [Antonin] Scalia and [Stephen] Breyer. They said what they would like to see is the president pick someone who has not been a judge.

Well, if Karl Rove—who has a history of leaking to Bob Novak, according to Salon's David Paul Kuhn—doesn't wind up as Judy Miller's bitch in jail over the current Novak incident, why not put him on the Supreme Court? Or how about Novak? Or Jerry Bremer? Or Doug Feith?

Peter Baker of the Washington Post immerses us in the politicking with a fascinating story this morning—fascinating because nut cases like Paul Weyrich and Sean Rushton are actually close enough to the centers of power to wield influence on the Bush regime. And to comment to reporters.

You understand, I'm not blaming Baker for talking to them. Unfortunately for our delicate Constitution, the old Christian revolutionary Weyrich is still a player. Baker writes:

    If Rehnquist does not retire right away, Bush … could go with a conservative first and wait to nominate Gonzales for the next opening, or the other way around. But in picking an O'Connor replacement now, he would have to hold back the nominee he actually wants for chief justice.

    "I may be totally wrong on this, but I think he means to change the court and that he would not be sending a balancer-type candidate," said Paul M. Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation and a leading conservative voice in Washington. "Now it could be that friendship with Gonzales outweighs that. I don't know. But in the discussions I've had with him, he seems generally committed to changing the composition of the court."

    "We would say, 'Look, pick two awesome constructionists,' " or jurists who strictly interpret the Constitution, said Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a group formed to support Bush nominees. "The country would like to shift the court to a more solid majority of constructionists or whatever you want to call it. I think the public is fed up with the courts handing down rulings like the pledge and the Ten Commandments and the property case," three recent cases that have sparked controversy.

Constructionists? Sounds like another job for Halliburton.


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