Tuesday, July 19, 2005

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Open SCOTUS nominee thread

Feel free to comment here on President Bush's announcement this evening of his choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. Orin Kerr is so excited about this that he's breaking into song.

Peter Baker, Fred Barbash and William Branigin report in the Washington Post that:

[M]any Republican strategists are anticipating that his choice will be Judge Edith Clement of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals....

"I've heard nothing official, but it certainly does look like it," said a Republican strategist with close ties to the White House. "The word has gone out that we should be ready today. And the signs are all pointing to Clement."

TradeSports has Clement doing well, but I agree with Kerr that this is not terribly reliable evidence. [How do you pronounce that last name?--ed. Click here for the answer in Slate.]

The extensive network of legal spies working for danieldrezner.com report that Clement might be the perfect justice to navigate the 7-10 split that is the Senate confirmation process. I've heard experts on both sides of the aisle praise her. Jack Balkin thinks Clement would be a shrewd political move. Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker repeates a Reuters report that Clement would receive the support of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Andrew Sullivan has a whole bunch o' posts up, including a link to this Legal Times story, which suggests that, "Two of the most noteworthy opinions written by Clement are in the area of criminal rights and law enforcement." This may please The New Republic's William Stuntz, who argues that, "the Supreme Court's most important job is not managing the culture wars. Regulating the never-ending war on crime is a much bigger task."

Remember, however, that George W. Bush loves -- loves -- to surprise the media.

UPDATE: And he does -- it's Judge John Roberts from the DC Court of Appeals. Looks like John Derbyshire was wrong.

For more see Stuart Buck, Peter Robinson, Glenn Reynolds, Jeffrey Rosen, and the SCOTUSblog profile.

UPDATE: Listening to NPR, Jeffrey Rosen says that while no Supreme Court nominee is a slam dunk, this is pretty "dunky."

posted by Dan on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM



And I thought this summer would be different than a presidential election, something rarer eliciting political philosophy discussion instead of political jab polishing.

posted by: Christopher Reilly on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

....And the President's choice to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court is....me! Zathras.

A surprise choice to nearly everyone, Zathras would be the first Supreme Court Justice to have been named after a fictional alien. He is not a lawyer -- he doesn't even like television dramas featuring lawyers -- and so responds to calls by some commentators for more professional diversity on the Supreme Court. He is young enough to serve for years on the Court if he feels like it, and describes his judicial philosophy as "Zathrasian." When asked to comment on Bush said, "He's the most dangerous kickoff returner in the nation and will be a big part of the powerful Southern California offense this fall."

University of Chicago assistant professor and blogger Dan Drezner had this to say of the Zathras nomination: "I just don't know what the hell is going on. We already knew anyone could become President in America; who knew just anyone could serve on the Supreme Court?"

Zathras is not black, Hispanic, Asian, gay, female, physically handicapped or otherwise blessed with an inspirational life story, though he did once spend some time hitchhiking around Australia and New Zealand and wages an annual battle against some pretty bad hay fever. In his nomination statement, President Bush indicated he was looking for a Supreme Court Justice who would send a signal of inclusiveness and a measured message of moderation in his choice to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but added, "then I thought, oh what the hell."

Prospects for Zathras' confirmation by the Senate are uncertain. Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who Zathras has described as "an invertebrate" and "a staff-driven dinosaur" respectively, were reached for comment, but responded with dazed expressions. Leahy's press secretary referred reporters to People for the American Way.

posted by: Zathras on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Problem for Bush is he isn't qualified to pick anyone.

But he is qualified to advise you on booze, cocaine, and
how to smoke pot well.

Beyond that...nothing.

The solution is to simply turn the person he chooses
over to aliens for medical experimemnts.

Gee...I'm in a good mood today. :)

posted by: James on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Sorry, but it must be said:

Zathras is not The One.

posted by: Devin McCullen on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Poor Zathras.

Zathras used to being ignored for High Court. Zathras have sad life, probably have sad death, but at least there is symmetry

posted by: Steven Taylor on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Put a word in for me for the Bolton job. I have no international experience, speak only English but speak it loudly and slowly so foriegners can understand, refuse to mince words, despise compromise, always let people know what i honestly think of them and their nations, and dont have much use for the united nations except possibly as a place to pick up exotic chicks. Also i dont hold with diplomatic immunity and am not afraid to challenge north koreas diplomat to a steel cage texas tornado death match or apply a figure-four leglock to Irans minister until he gives up his nuke program.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Dan, what's more reliable than trade sports? I'd love to make some $$.

posted by: Jor on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

When I try to trackback to any of your posts I get:

The requested URL /mt/mt-trackback.cgi was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

posted by: NOTR on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Zathras not Supreme Court nominee. Zathras Supreme Court nominee.

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Quite honesty, the Zathras jokes are more fun than the SCOTUS talk (but that may be because I am tired).

posted by: Steven Taylor on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Zathras warned, but nobody listen to Zathras.

Zathras, in this case, being Charles Lane and Jerry Markon of the WaPo.

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Wow..I was right...Bush isn't qualified to
pick a Supreme Court nominee.

Why would anyone choose an inexperienced jurist?

Two years on the job as a judge and Bush thinks
that makes one ready for the Supreme Court.

So this has to be a political nomination, NOT a
judicial nomination.

If Bush thinks I'm gonna support an untested jack-
in-the-box jurist who is suppose to decide what
kind of laws the U.S. should live under, then Bush
is crazy and one sick dude.

I'd rather turn Roberts over to Area 51 so the
aliens could do medical experiments on him.
(If Bush is also sent the aliens will give us a
20% bonus.)

It's amazing how many people want to confirm an
inexperienced jurist.

I guess they were no other jurist with many years
of experienced being a jurist.

Hey..I know....Lets promote a mail clerk to be
president of a multi-billion dollar company for life.
I am sure the mail clerk will get the hang of being
a CEO after a few years. Hope the company lasts that

What a country Amercia is....

posted by: James on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Rehnquist _never_ sat as a judge before his confirmation. And he's the chief justice. Thomas was an appellate judge even more briefly than Roberts. There is nothing unusual about Roberts judicial experience, and his other experience as a white house lawyer arguing before the SCOTUS is invaluable. The guy is plenty experienced.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Not that your subliterate rant deserves a response, James, but here's a thought. Perhaps the morons behind the Dems "block all comers" legal strategy might want to ponder Bush's end run of the day. Had Roberts been allowed to take a seat in 92 or even in 01 his "paper trail" might make make him even more "unqualified" in your oh so exacting eyes to be elevated to the SC.

Don't throw me in the briar patch, Brer Fox! Oh no...

posted by: Kelli on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

No one ever listen to Zathras.

Actually, a couple of weeks ago I posted on the Intel Dump site my hope that Bush would follow the "sharpest knife in the drawer" school of thought for picking a Court nominee. This, based on the reading I had done to that point, would I assumed have led him to McConnell of the 10th Circuit. But Roberts is in that class as well, based on reports from the people who have worked with him and heard him argue before the Court, where he has appeared 39 times.

Roberts is a man Bush knew personally long before O'Connor stepped down, and I had thought the nominee would likely have to have that qualification. But Bush also has said many times that he wanted to name a Justice like Scalia, who at the time he was nominated by President Reagan was widely acknowledged to have one of the most powerful intellects in the whole judicial system. It appears as if he has been true to his word, and into the bargain has chosen a nominee liberal interest groups will find it almost impossible to block. This is a good choice.

posted by: Zathras on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

It seems to me Supreme Court justice is probably the easiest of high-power government jobs. Good legal training, a thorough grounding in the history of constitutional law and Supreme Court rulings, and a professional career that allows time to reflect on the law and to develop a basic guiding philosophy to it -- that's what it takes. As influential as the Supreme Court is in American life, the justice position ain't the presidency. Roberts is obviously qualified.

posted by: Andrew Steele on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Apparently Roberts and Rehnquist have quite a bit in common. They are both supposed to be pragmatists as opposed to philosophers like Scalia, and they both have a politicians' backgrounds. Roberts could easily end up replacing Rehnquist as the Chief Justice i think, and Bush will likely appoint someone more philosophical in approach to replace Rehnquist himself. And think this is healthy as Rehnquist has been an important part of the conservative block as a realist and a consensus builder as opposed to Scalia and Thomas. Were Bush to appoint all idealogues it would probably push Kennedy and Breyer completely into the liberal camp as counterbalance, and the conservatives then remain a minority on the court. This choice could woo Kennedy into the O'Connor role and swing the court moderately more originalist, which is good. Bush is wise to mold the court step by step instead of trying a coup de main which could well backfire.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

More to the point, anyone care to venture how much judicial experience John Marshall had before being appointed as Chief Justice?

That's right, zero; Marshall was appointed to the bench as a political reward for having served as Secretary of State to John Adams (and was, in fact, among the many lame-duck "midnight" appointments by the outgoing Adams administration that gave rise to Marbury v. Madison).

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

Rehnquist and Thomas? They prove my point about
needed experience. Both ARE lousy jurists. Just
plain bad...no and's, no if's, no but's.

I'll say it again...

Why is someone with only 2 years as a JUDGE being nominated at all????

Have we run out of senior judges who have been around a while?

Go tell Roberts to go back, get some jurist experience, 3 years will do.

So here's my question in another form:

As an American citizen why would I want a guy with only 2 years experience as a
judge to be placed on the Supreme Court with a life time appointment?

I want quality...damn high quality...history proving high quality;

and 2 years on the job don't cut it...

If Roberts is so good have him wait 3 more years.

I'm not interested in Supreme Court surprises.

And by the way..no one here will be able to tell me
what kind of jurist he'll really be...but you will be able
to tell me what kind of lawyer he was before becoming a judge...

Why is that? History...

posted by: James on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

1) Bush is not nominating a true conservative, i.e. a known originalist. Since Supreme Court justices as well as Iraq were the only reasons I voted for Bush, I guess I have to put my hopes on Iraq.

2) Is Roberts a robot? Captain of the football team and top of his Harvard class? No controversial statements about anything (re: Coulter's comments and Barnett's comments)? Do I want a robot specialised in playing the system on the Court? I don't think so.

3) I'm not voting GOP for the midterms. As I can't get myself to vote for the Dems during this lifetime, I'll stay home. Bye bye Georgie boy. I don't know what you and your Bush family think you're doing, but conservatism it is not.

posted by: Conservative on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

"Even Democrats inclined to oppose Roberts have had to admit that he has superb qualifications. Sen. Charles Schumer, busy raising money from left-wing big contributors and direct-mail lists in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee, had to admit that Roberts is highly qualified. So did Judiciary Committee ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy and Minority Leader Harry Reid. "

Sorry James, you just seem to have the wrong talking points.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

I notice how "James" just completely blew past my John Marshall example, although I guess he must have been a bad jurist too.

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 07.19.05 at 02:45 PM [permalink]

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