Skip to comments.Democrats Warn of Possible Court Fight
Posted on 07/03/2005 8:12:58 PM PDT by Brilliant
WASHINGTON - Senate Judiciary Committee members crystalized the debate over Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on Sunday, making clear that a hard-line conservative would trigger a furious battle on Capitol Hill that could touch off a Democratic filibuster.
The division emerged amid a conservative lobbying campaign against one possible pick, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a longtime Texas friend of President Bush who is considered too moderate by right-wing Republicans.
"I don't think the social conservatives ought to prejudge Attorney General Gonzales. Attorney General Gonzales may not even be in the picture," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on ABC's "This Week."
Specter said he thinks Bush will consider "the gender factor" in making a selection, and the fact that O'Connor was a pivotal swing vote.
However, it is unclear what the president will consider.
Bush has said in the past that conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are the kind of people he admires on the Supreme Court.
Bush was at Camp David mulling over his options, while Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York was urging a summit between senators from both parties and the president.
Asked whether he would support a filibuster if a hard-liner is chosen, the judiciary committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), said, "I would hope that we don't reach that point."
"That's why we're going to meet with the president in about a week, going to urge that he put somebody who would unite the country, not divide the country," said Leahy of Vermont.
"I have no intention of filibustering, but it depends on who the president sends," said Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware.
On ABC, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., jumped in to answer a question intended for Specter, prompting Specter to joke, "I heard the filibuster starting a little early."
With Republicans holding power in the White House and Congress, conservatives see the Supreme Court as the final obstacle to control of all branches of the federal government.
Liberals say that given O'Connor's swing position on the court, Bush must choose a consensus conservative a move that would risk alienating the president's far-right base but would avoid a political war.
Schumer provided this description of his proposed summit aimed at avoiding a bruising battle that interest groups on left and right are girding for: "We roll up our sleeves, let down our tie and discuss things all day long. Would that help? Who knows." He added, "It can't hurt."
Republicans are looking for less consultation, not more.
"It's not our job to determine who ought to be picked," said Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is not on the judiciary committee.
Republicans urged Democrats to accept the idea that Democratic nominees historically had been given ample leeway, and that Republican nominees should be given the same consideration.
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, yet she was overwhelmingly confirmed," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "She wasn't asked about her earlier writings on whether laws banning prostitution were unconstitutional."
Still a powerful memory for the Senate is the 18-year-old fight that ended in defeat for Republican Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who was seen as too extreme in his conservative views.
"I wish we could drop these political terms for the court because the court is all too political now," Bork said.
Leahy appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press," Schumer and Cornyn on ABC's "This Week," Biden on CBS's "Face the Nation," McConnell on Fox News Sunday and Bork on CNN's "Late Edition."
Rats are always "warning" Bush. The smaller their numbers get, the more they "warn."
I fear President Bush is going to sell us down the river with someone who is not the best suited to defend our Constitution.
I was with some pretty liberal relatives tonight. They're trying to distance themselves from Moveon and the Democratic underground types.
The right wing moral equivalent of the left wing's Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg (Mrs. ACLU), would be the Grand Cyclops of the KKK. The Democrats should have no problem with any person President Bush nominates, since he/she would not be that extreme.
You bunch of pansy a$$ sissies.
Good to hear, cc. Get togethers with liberal relatives can be tense -- yours sound like they have some hope.
I think I speak for everyone here when I said BRING IT ON!!! Conservatives have never run from a fight.
Yup, he's already there. And, in fact, he's already the swing vote. He's been the swing as often as O'Connor. And if you put a conservative on the bench, I'd bet dollars to donuts that he'll shift further to the left.
So there you have it: Renhquish, Scalia, Thomas and Newguy on the right, the four wackos on the left and Kennedy in the middle. The court keeps its balance.
F = 7 subjected to failed cloture motions in 108th Congress
4 = "1 of 4" that DEMs offered to let GOP choose which 3 to dump
S = Positive mention in Specter's May 9, 2005 speech
M = MOU of 14 will not vote against cloture
m = MOU of 14 makes no promise regarding cloture
R = Post-MOU, Reid indicates desire to filibuster
C = Out of committee & on the Senate's Executive Calendar
U = Unanimous consent to debate - date TBD
D = Democrats offer to debate - date TBD
v = Debate and vote scheduled
V = Vote -on the nomination- concluded
--S -- C-- Boyle, Terrence W. (4th Cir)
--- -R --- Haynes, William James II (4th Cir)
F4S M- CUV Owen, Priscilla (5th Cir)
F-S -- CUV Griffin, Richard A. (6th Cir)
F-S -- CUV McKeague, David W. (6th Cir)
--S -- -D- Neilson, Susan Bieke (6th Cir)
F-- mR --- Saad, Henry W. (6th Cir)
F4S mR C-- Myers, William Gerry III (9th Cir)
F4S M- CUV Pryor, William H. (11th Cir)
F4S M- CUV Brown, Janice Rogers (D.C. Cir)
--S -- CUV Griffith, Thomas B. (D.C. Cir)
--- -R --- Kavanaugh, Brett M. (D.C. Cir)
Last updated, June 21, 2005
Owen: Cloture passed 81-18 on May 24. Confirmed 55-43 on May 25.
Brown: Cloture passed 65-32 on June 7. Confirmed 56-43 on June 8.
Pryor: Cloture passed 67-32 on June 8. Confirmed 53-45 on June 9.
Griffin: Confirmed 95-0 on June 9.
McKeague: Confirmed 96-0 on June 9.
Griffith: Confirmed 73-24 on June 14.
Myers: Out of Committee on March 17.
Boyle: Out of Committee on June 16.
I wish our side would talk like that more often. Rat politicians say the most vile things about Pubby officials, but I never hear GOP pols firing back in kind. Sure, maybe opinion-molders like Levin and Coulter and Rush do. I will never understand what our side is afraid of. Why does no one ever take the obvious shots at people like Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd? If we went after guys like that, it would only help the Republicans and certainly raise our morale.
Bring it on. It's time to hammer these Democrat scum and their waffling "moderate" Republican allies!
"making clear that a hard-line conservative would trigger a furious battle on Capitol Hill that could touch off a Democratic filibuster."
That is what is to be expected for caving in to the Dems the first time. Now anytime they think that the President will make any headway they will jump up and down screaming "Filibuster". It's time to just put an end to this BS. Republicans who do not fall in line need to be booted from the coveted committees and the first time that the Dems even stutter on the floor of the Senate, the nuclear option needs to be excercised.
Only way to do that is to join the GOP.
Well, here was Bork, for one.
Not a chance.
He will pick a solid conservative. I am sure of it. He is not Bush 41.
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