Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Supreme matters

George Will makes the case for J. Harvie Wilkinson III to be nominated for the Supreme Court. The Democrats want someone with a "big heart." Meanwhile, Ann Coulter thinks that appointing O’Connor was Reagan’s biggest mistake (I think it was supporting no fault divorce while he was governor of California). And Reuters considers what role bloggers will have in the upcoming fight(s) for the Court. This Washington Times editorial is pessimistic about the upcoming Bush choices, if history is any guide. It recounts the Republican appointment since Ike and concludes that of the 7 (out 9) justices appinted by Republican presidents, only 3 can be called conservatives (Rhenquist, Scalia, and Thomas). And Fred Barnes reminds us that Bush will get his way in the end, no matter how much Demos gripe and shout, and he has promises to keep.

Discussions - 6 Comments

The most recent rumors--confirmed by Bill Kristol this morning--are that Bush very much wants to appoint Gonzales to Chief Justice. If he does, it will be a serious blow to the vibrant conservative movement that the Bush Administration has nourished, and could well herald major losses for the Republicans in 2006 and 2008. I sincerely hope he does not make this decision, and at least holds off on appointing Gonzales until Stevens or Ginsburg retires, since it is quite likely that one of them will do so over the next three and a half years. Stick with reliable conservatives for O’Connor’s and Rehnquist’s spots.

As I recall from Steven Hayward’s book on Reagan, Reagan himself said his biggest regret was in signing a relatively pro-abortion bill while Governor.


Bush is not much of a social conservative at heart, and if he’s never spoken in any depth about judicial tyranny and constitutional misinterpretation, there is no reason to think this is a high priority for him either.

Yes, he has been with us enough to appoint a GROUP of conservatives to the lower courts. But with a Supreme Court seat or two, the small number of seats plus the high public profile set up more of a dilemma for a president. Does he go with the zeitgeist and appoint a woman or a historic-first "person of color," or does he place substance above everything, as is his solemn duty under these circumstances?

Perhaps certain of Bush’s Cabinet appointments (Powell, Mel Martinez, Gonzales and some others) tell the tale here.

My fear is that Bush has "president-itis," that a combination of the normal presidential ego plus a strong sense of frustration on Bush’s part with his lack of domestic clout will lead him to assert his prerogative in the wrong way -- by picking his personal favorite, rather than by fighting on behalf of his base.

The strongest argument against Gonzales (with the White House) may be his apparent recusal obligations. But weighing against that may be Bush’s desire to have a strong personal ally on the court who has had experience with some of the national-security issues that will come up -- a reliable vote for presidential power in foreign policy and security matters. I suspect that Bush cares far more about this than about abortion, gay marriage, religion in the public square, takings, and all the rest combined.

Well, David, if that’s true then Bush doesn’t deserve my support any longer. Our Islamic enemies could easily be routed if it weren’t for the constant Leftist sniping and negative spin. If the President doesn’t realize that the real fight is HERE, then he doesn’t deserve to be remembered.


Bush still deserves your support. He’s good on some issues, and better than the Democrats on all issues.

And yet, he could easily lose us the domestic front for the next generation if he ignores his promises on judicial picks. No one deserves my support who would fiddle while Rome burns. Sorry.

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