The Easy Way Out?

If Bush wants a quick Supreme Court confirmation with guaranteed conservative results, he need look no further than the Capitol building. Fourteen senators have gone on to serve in the Supreme Court (though it’s been almost fifty years since the last ex-Senator Sherman Minton left the court) and at least a half-dozen current ones have been mentioned as potential picks. USA Today has a conservative judicial watcher giving the nod to John Cornyn of Texas as an O’Connor replacement. The same article puts Arizona’s Jon Kyl in the running.

But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (the anti-abortion Senator now charged with saving Roe) has said that neither would meet his standards. Both serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, so they’d have to recuse themselves from that round of consideration. On the other hand, the Republicans would still have a 9-8 majority in the committee, and would have no problem reporting either one, even in the unlikely event of serious Democratic objections. One obvious line of defense that the Dems would have against Senators as nominees would be to argue that it’s inappropriate to send conservative politicians to the court—remember middle school civics lessons about that special non-politicized branch of government. But on Tuesday, Harry Reid left that argument dead on arrival by, yes, suggesting that Bush nominate Mike Crapo (ID), Mike DeWine (OH) or Mel Martinez (FL).

David Corn makes for worthwhile reading today. He suggests that Utah’s Orrin Hatch is another possible choice, putting six names in the mix. But Corn also notes that the upcoming Supreme Court nomination battle is already stacked in Bush’s favor, and that he has little to lose by going for the conservative gold. So Sherman, your record is probably safe.


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