Skip to comments.Did Bush promise to appoint a justice like [in the mold of] Scalia? Have we been misled?
Posted on 10/15/2005 3:15:52 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
Did Bush promise to appoint a justice like Scalia? CNN's Bash busted an "urban myth" with a myth of her own, while Fred Barnes changed his story -- then changed it back again
For six years, political figures and interest groups on the left, right, and center, along with reporters and commentators, have noted that during his first presidential campaign, George W. Bush promised to use Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as the model for his nominations to the court. Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes was apparently the first to report this, in a July 1999 article for that magazine. For six years, Barnes and countless others repeated this fact, and neither Bush nor any of his aides seem to have ever challenged it -- in fact, Bush did not contest Al Gore's statement in a 2000 presidential debate that Bush had made such a promise. But in recent months -- when two vacancies gave Bush the opportunity to actually make nominations to the Supreme Court -- an apparent effort to walk back the promise has been under way, with Barnes himself playing a key role through a series of inconsistent statements about his own article.
Most recently, CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash narrated a segment on the October 12 edition of The Situation Room that purported to debunk the "urban myth" that, while campaigning for president, George Bush said that his Supreme Court nominees would be in the mold of Scalia. Bash claimed that the "myth" of Bush's Scalia comments was based on a November 1999 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press in which, as Bash noted, Bush praised Scalia but didn't promise to appoint a justice like him. Bash then said that during a 2000 debate, Gore, Bush's opponent, "connected the dots" -- falsely suggesting that Gore was the first to interpret Bush's Meet the Press comments as a promise to appoint a justice like Scalia. Finally, Bash provided a clue about the source of recent efforts to walk back Bush's promise by stating that "[a] longtime time Bush aide confirms to CNN Mr. Bush didn't actually publicly pledge a Scalia or a [Clarence] Thomas, but they made no effort to clarify."
Contrary to Bash's claim, Bush's Meet the Press appearance was not the original basis for the assertion that Bush promised to appoint a justice in the mold of Scalia. Under the headline "Bush Scalia," Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes wrote in his magazine's July 5-12, 1999, issue:
WHO IS GEORGE W. BUSH'S IDEAL JUDGE, the model for nominees he'd pick for the Supreme Court? Antonin Scalia, that's who. In public comments, of course, Bush has declared his desire, if elected president, to choose judges who interpret the Constitution strictly, and Scalia qualifies on that count. Appointed by President Reagan in 1986, Scalia is one of the most conservative justices on the high court, and is part of the minority that favors overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. But when asked about the kind of judge he would really want, Bush was quite specific. "I have great respect for Justice Scalia," Bush said, "for the strength of his mind, the consistency of his convictions, and the judicial philosophy he defends."
Bush singled out Scalia in response to a written question I submitted to his presidential campaign. Some Bush aides thought he might cite Clarence Thomas, nominated by Bush's father, President Bush, in 1991, as the model for his judicial appointments. Every bit as conservative as Scalia, Thomas would likewise reverse Roe v. Wade. But Thomas is more controversial as a result of sexual harassment charges made against him by Anita Hill. Bush is not an admirer of his father's other nominee, David Souter, now one of the Court's leading liberals.
Barnes stood by his reporting for six years. Media Matters for America can find no example of either Barnes or any Bush aide correcting the July 1999 article through mid-2005. In fact, Barnes has repeatedly reiterated the point that Bush said he'd name a justice like Scalia -- and has done so as recently as this year...
Excerpted, read the rest here: http://mediamatters.org/items/200510130005
Your completely unsupported statement is factually incorrect. I attended four Bush rallies and NEVER heard him say such a thing. I DID here him say that he would appoint judges who would not legislate from the bench. I never once heard him name anybody he would use as a model.
"Miers is more like Thomas."
Clarence Thomas is a libertarian.
How do you deduce that Miers is "like Thomas" too?
you just killed a puppy!
Okay, let's say Bush didn't make the promise. Who the HECK is this guy we've worked so hard to elected, then? What brand of "conservative" wouldn't nominate another Scalia or Thomas?
With ties to George Soros.
Just wanted to make sure everyone is on the same page. I think the best place to look would be the White house site. Proof of what he said would certainly be there.
BTW, once again thank you for this great site and congratulations on the FReepathon. :)
But you know, on the basis of the objective evidence of qualifications alone, Miers herself would have never selected . . . herself . . . for the seat.
Did hearings reveal the truth about Souter, Kennedy, or O'Connor?
"I will appoint justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas".
This is no 'urban myth'. He said it at EVERY rally, in EVERY city."
Will George H. Bush's quote, "Read my lips -- NO new taxes" now be reassigned "urban myth" status as well?
Anyone who has done four semesters of calculus has to respect this, too.
Not really. MRC is more thorough, presents long quotes to get full context and is a quality organization. MM focuses on a few "outrages" to get itself in the news.
That'll be real useful.
you just killed a kitten
For Engineers, it's four.
If she does that, she might just face some Republican opposition. She has to give us an idea who she would be on the bench, while not saying how she might rule on a specific case. If she pulls this off, I'd say President Bush put the wrong one in the CJ post.
Any that IS what Bush has promised again and again.
Correct. Whereas MRC is dedicated to exposing media bias, MM covers it up and say "Liberal media? What liberal media?"
Jim, I believe you'll find that quote in one of Bush's debates with Kerry.