Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Does nominating Roberts as CJ change anything?

E.J. Dionne, Jr. thinks it raises the stakes:

By proposing that Roberts lead the court, Bush has given the liberal groups that oppose the nomination (and Democratic senators inclined to join them) a chance to regroup and argue that this battle is no longer a practice session for the next round. This is the next round.


"Now that he’s been nominated for chief justice, he’s not a test case anymore," said a Senate Democratic staffer close to his party’s discussions. "There’s a difference between being one of nine and Number One of nine. And if he’s confirmed, he’s likely to hold the job for the next generation."

I have two thoughts. First, the underlying political calculations haven’t changed for most Senators (with the possible exception of Mary Landrieu, who may have an interest in being difficult after having made pro-Roberts noises in the past). Few, if any, will move from support (in the face of the full-court press by the legal Left) to opposition just because Roberts’s title will change. To say that the new title requires a heightened standard of scrutiny, as Dionne and legal Left do, is a sign of desperation on their part.

Second, this new line confirms the notion that no one takes the "maintaining the balance" argument seriously. After all, replacing Rehnquist with his former clerk simply, for the moment, maintains the status quo, which folks like Senators Reid and Schumer had insisted was so important.

I think that
this article has it right:

[W]ith conservatives and liberals alike saying that Roberts is on track to be confirmed, the focus was already shifting to what both sides believe will be the real battle: Bush’s yet-to-be-named pick to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

But of course this "real battle" has been waged ever since the President nominated John Roberts. And the Democrats and their interest group allies have lost.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Bush’s yet-to-be-named pick to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

I give credit to Bush for doing what is right in the face of partisan opposition. I can only he does the same here. He should not appoint Clement because she is from New Orleans. He should stay the course and appoint a true "orginalist" to the court whose record is apparent and shows through in his/her descions. Unfortunately, Clement does not fit this profile. However, I would argue that the Honorable Alice Batchelder does. What do the readers here at NLT think?

I think that it would be prudent at this juncture to stay the course, America. I see a thousand points of light, George Bush, he’s gonna do what George Bush can.

Frankly, I find John Roberts to be a Sad example of what America has.

Protege, could you explain? Is he not smart enough, not liberal enough or not conservative enough? Why exactly is he a sad example?

He should not appoint Clement because she is from New Orleans.

I forgot a word and it changes the whole meaning of what I meant to say, it should read as follows.

He should not appoint Clement just because she is from New Orleans.


The Democrats haven’t "lost" until or unless a solidly conservative replacement for O’Connor is confirmed. And that is probably a month away, if we’re lucky. Don’t count your (our) chickens.

I think Alice Batchelder would be a fine nominee. She is a solid conservative and would be many of the things that O’Connor should have been but was not (i.e., a justice befitting the Reagan legacy). In contrast to Clement, moreover, Batchelder has a long judicial record, so no one on either side of the aisle will be hit with any surprises.

Who the hell just referred to themself as my protege? Am I to be honored or dismayed? I am in agreement with "..." as to the lack detail in my protege’s comment. What gives? Speak up Mini-Me.

I find Roberts to be befitting of a hard right agenda under the creamy caramel of partisan politics

"befitting of a hard right agenda"

Bad grammar, but a lovely concept. A "hard right agenda" -- rightly understood, of course -- is exactly what the Court needs.

Any true protege of mine would at least take the opportunity to look up a word that he did not know before attempting to use it in a public context.

He would know then that "befitting" meant "suitable, appropriate" or "proper, decent" and not something akin to "belying", "having a guise", or something of that ilk. But perhaps that interpretation itself is even too charitable.

Sadly, he is no protege of mine. I disavow any and all connections to this person.

Maybe it is your protege, and maybe he is just an idiot. It is possible to have a dumb protege, right? And saying "Who referred to themself" isn’t exactly perfect grammar either, just so you know!

Touche. I noticed that after I put it in but thought it was petty to issue a retraction. Regardless, don’t use my name in conjunction with anonymous goings on. Fair enough?

Fair enough.

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