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
The Bush haters and knee-jerk reactionaries don't care about the hearings. Their minds were made up ahead of time, most probably before the nomination was announced.
No, actually he did not say it at EVERY rally in EVERY city.
I think it's more important that SC justices be strict constructionists who won't legislate from the bench than that they be clones of any individual person.
Do either of you recall the exact dates and places you respectively attended Bush rallies?
I'm no expert on Miers, but there some fairly important people out there who are less than enthused with this selection.
In general, I would say that it would have been far better for a person to have been nominated that the conservatives could join in unity behind. The herding cats theory aside, a majority of conservatives should be able to back this president's selection. Other than the die-hard Bush supporter, I'm not getting the impression that conservatives are behind this appointment.
The long term conservative position has been that if no other reasion existed, Bush was most importantly going to change the makeup of the court. He was going to appoint rock solid conservatives to the SCOTUS.
I don't have to be an expert to question whether Miers is a rock solid conservative. I just don't get that impression, when confronted with her past. Her past legal and political activities are about all we have to go on, since she has not been prolific and hasn't sat as a judge.
Have we been misled. If the president truly thinks she's conservative, no. Have we been let down? Possibly so.
I cannot support Miers' nomination over a number of folks out there with proven track records. Miers is who Bush chose for the SCOTUS. I am fairly confident he will push this nomination as far as he can. I would think less of him if he didn't.
I do not think this will wind up well, but I've been wrong before.
For the superlative things that Bush as done as President, it's sad to know that at this point in time, his minuses are poised to be every bit as prominent as his pluses.
If Harriet Miers turns out to be another Souter, President Bush will have missed what some thought was his one true calling.
The left is on a rampage judicialy. What they couldn't accomplish at the polls, the are trying to achieve by judicial fiat. The SCOTUS is our last defense against that. Failing to make it as sound with regard to Constitutional law as it could be, could well be fatal to a number of the issues conservatives hold dear.
One of the thing I remmebered about MM is it's fallacious "proof" that Hannity and Colmes is right biased because each episode Hannity say more words on average than Colmes.
Sure, that's an excellent way to measure bias..
You're probably counting Differential Equations, which many of us don't consider to be calculus per se. But the math major does much more. Calculus is barely a speck.
Boolean algebra would be better suited there.
Yeah, I think I found that reference. Bush didn't say it, Kerry did. And Bush didn't correct him on it.
Here's an interesting snippet:
``We'd be talking about somebody's background,'' said Leonard Leo, now on leave as executive vice president of the Federalist Society, the conservative group whose headlined speakers have included Supreme Court justices and Bush administration official.
``There would be a moment of silence when she was clearly thinking about what was being said and then she would challenge it, asking, 'But what specifically in those opinions strongly suggests that this is someone who ascribes to judicial restraint?''' Leo said.
Who on earth would be " a conservative version of Souter." Wouldn't such a person have to appointed as a Liberal by a Democrat and turn out to be a Conservative. Come to think of it, I don't think that has ever happened to the Liberals; when they appoint a Liberal, they get a Liberal. It is only the Conservatives that appoint a Conservative and get a Liberal.
Yeah, that was it. Thanks for clearing that up.
Can you post the exact quote here for verification/edification?
And, of course, if she gives that impression in the hearings, she will be a constitutionist on the court, right?
They are also the ones who will take quotes by conservatives like Bill Bennet, Rush, Hannity, etc., use just a small bit of what they actually say, and then try to get the MSM to run a hit piece. This is how the Bill Bennet garbage started.
Conservatives have to realize...
Our country was sliding deeper into the cesspool of socialism from the late '50's on. The "Great Society" was a pivotal point. We became even more socialist. Nixon/Kissenger and the china trip helped it along. (although in retrosect I think that was a >fairly< wise move.
Nixon's removal and the Ford administration began moving power from the execuvtive to the legislative and judical branches of government.
Carter increased our slide into socialism.
THANK GOD FOR RONALD REAGAN!
The Gipper along with conservatives both pubbie and rat threw out the anchor. The slide into socialism wasn't stopped but for once we had ground...a goal...the shining city on the hill...that conservatives of all persuasions could aim for.
The Clinton years almost undid that.
Then came W. Not exactly a consrevative but he grabbed onto the line RR tossed out. He slowed the pace. He's not exactly the in your face kinda consrvative I would like to see, but overall he's done a good job in slowing socialism.
I disagree with W on many points...immigration, NAFTA/CAFTA, eonaomy, ... and tons of other stuff.
But overall - especially considering 9-11, NOLA and TONS of other stuff - he's doing a decent job in keeping us from the evils of socialism.
AS conservatives we have to work from the bottom up. I believe that's the constitutional way.
W is no conservative...he's helped slow things but is no RR.
WE have to look ahead...WAY AHEAD...way past when I'm gone...the late teens early '20's. That's what conservatives should be aiming for.
Sadly I think most don't quite get it.
BTW, Thanks for the soapbox.
Important people? Would that be like....elite people, special people? The same people who tell us that unless we're lawyers, we're too uneducated to read and understand the Constitution?
You can follow the "important" people if you like. They're just one opinion out of a multitude.