Posted by Joseph Knippenberg
This is certainly calculated to hearten those who worry that RG is wobbly on judicial matters.
Update: Our friends at Power Line have the committee list, which is not unimpressive. NRO’s Jonathan Adler is impressed, as is NRO’s Jim Geraghty.
Estrada and Thompson are not heavyweights and major dues-payers in the conservative legal community. They're just among the tiny number of noted conservative lawyers who are black or Hispanic. Until we see the full list of Rudy's advisory panel, and know how often they meet, to what extent they have Rudy's ear, etc., this announcement means little except that Rudy has enough common sense to take the judicial issue seriously. Olson is a heavyweight, but he joined Rudy's team months ago as the judicial advisor, and therefore isn't news.
I can't help feeling that this list implies, if anything, that RG is NOT going to appoint serious social, or pro-Declaration, pro-Constitution conservatives to the Supreme Court.
Larry Thompson, as the #2 at Justice, simply disqualified himself by promoting Gay and Lesbian federal employees' celebrations there.
So far as I know, Estrada has never revealed his constitutional thinking on issues of importance to social conservatives.
When a candidate like Giuliani tries to reassure us with names like these, we might be permitted to think that he has shown that he does not share the constitutional understanding of social conservatives.
I have yet to find the full list of names on this committee. If Larry Thompson and Miguel Estrada are Exhibit A for conservatives here, I would question how good the other members are from our standpoint. I'm not knocking either of these men, but they don't prove anything, in the sense that a Robert Bork, an Ed Meese, or a Hadley Arkes would.
It would be interesting to hear from a knowledgeable constitutionalist scholar or Federalist Society type about this list (other than Estrada and Thompson, whose names have been out there for a couple of days). My sense of it is that this list is made up largely of Establishment types who won't offend the liberals much and of former Rudy colleagues. Professor Fried is not part of the liberal legal establishment, but I'd hesitate to call him one of us. Ditto Maureen Mahoney. And that's just from a casual observer. Can a knowledgeable person make my point more persuasively? Or knock it down? This campaign within the GOP requires the closest intellectual efforts of those who are capable of making them when we evaluate candidates. We shouldn't blow up minor failings (porn channel availability at Marriott, undenounced by Romney as a board member) into serious issues. But neither should be grasp at minor things, like the Rudy judiciary committee, as if they proved anything good.
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