Which brings us to the real problem area (assuming Bush doesn't make the biggest mistake of his presidency by selecting Alberto Gonzalez): the squishy Republicans in the Senate on this issue. That would include the "gang of 7," John McCain, Mike DeWine, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Lincoln Chaffee, John W. Warner, & Olympia Snowe. You also have to watch wimpy RINO Arlen Specter and Trent Lott who helped set up the whole compromise over the nuclear option.
I have been apprehensive over the compromise because the wording is so vague, not because of compromise itself. I think that the adminstration needs to show the same spine domestically as it does internationally and send nominees in the mold of Justice Thomas. The White House should tune out John Warner and the like who throw Bush's "Uniter not divider" rhetoric back at him. With outrage over the Kelo decision still high, now is the perfect time for Orginalist nominations. Back to John Hawkins:
In any case, Specter might vote -- I say might -- vote against the nominee (remember, he did vote for Thomas and Scalia), but perhaps he wouldn't vote against the nuclear option since that would be practically guaranteed to cost him his precious chairmanship. Still, you never know with a weak-kneed milksop like Specter...
I'm still looking for quotes from Chaffee, Lott, DeWine, & Collins. But, on the upside, Lott supposedly wants to be Majority Leader again. I seriously don't think that'll happen, but if it's true, he'll vote the right way. After all, you don't become majority leader by selling out a conservative nominee to the Supreme Court. DeWine seemed awfully defensive after the "gang of 14" deal and I'm inclined to think he'll pull the trigger on the nuclear option if the Dems filibuster as well. Collins and Chaffee, they're both "weak reeds," and are as likely to vote with the Democrats as not.Still, reading the tea leaves here, my first guess would be that Lott, McCain, DeWine, and Graham would vote for the nuclear option and just about any conservative Bush puts up. Along with the 46 other reliable votes, I'm seeing the magical number there to get a candidate confirmed or for the nuclear option. Of course, any razor thin margin that includes McCain can never be considered to be reliable, but so far, so good. It's up to W. and Frist to solidify those 50 votes and to start padding the numbers just in case a Senator pulls a "Voinovich" and changes his mind at the last minute.
Well John, put Lott on you definite nuclear option list; here's his quote back when the 14 struck thier deal, and here's my post at the time. Lott's too bright to back off of that quote.
Michael Barone has an article at RealClearPolitics the gist of which says that a nasty nomination battle will hurt both parties. He says:
Democrats' all-out opposition to the Bush administration -- on issues from judges to Social Security and the nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations -- has resulted, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg concludes, in a weakening in Republicans' standing but an even greater weakening in the standing of the Democrats.
In filibustering a Bush Supreme Court nominee, Senate Democrats will be fighting yesterday's battle at the behest of the lobbyists representing one of their core constituencies. In overcoming this filibuster, if they do, Senate Republicans will be satisfying larger but more inchoate core constituencies.
My own hunch is that the Democrats' posture of frenzied opposition won't get them where they want to go. But I'm not sure whether a battle over yesterday's issues helps Republicans, either.
Perhaps. However, unlike Mr. Bolton or Social Security, judges are a make or break issue with core constituencies. Kelo has illuminated to a broad swath of voters that you must have justices like Clarence Thomas. Social issues are important, but Roe's importance is the importance of federalism. To dissent with Mr Barone, federalism is not "yesterday's issue".