Sunday, July 03, 2005

Unanimity standard?

The BBC reports on Senator Chris Dodd (Democrat from Connecticut) giving Bush advice on selecting his Supreme Court nominee.

Ms O'Connor - a former Arizona politician - was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and took up her seat in 1981.

Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd urged Mr Bush to follow Reagan's example in making his choice.

"Ronald Reagan was arguably the most conservative president of our time and he chose someone who was confirmed with a vote of 99-nothing," Mr Dodd said. "That's the standard."

What the BBC does not tell its readers is that Ms O'Connor's vote came at a time prior to Democratic attempts to politicize the confirmation process. Had her nomination come up today rather than in 1981, there is virtually no chance she could be comfirmed by a 99-0 vote. To see this, all one needs to do is look at how the left is now gearing up to oppose the possibility that Antonin Scalia, who himself was confirmed to the Court by a vote of 98-0 five years after O'Connor, might replace Rhenquist as Chief Justice.

Thanks for providing such informative context, Beeb.

2 Comments:

Anonymous psojka said...

I was in D.C. when the O'Connor resignation was announced. Unfortunately, I was among my liberal in-laws and friends who to a man (and woman) have decided that the end of the world is now upon us. Frankly, anyone that Bush nominates will be violently opposed simply because Bush nominated him or her. (I truly believe that he could nominate a very liberal judge, whom the Dems have groomed for years, and there would be Democratic opposition simply because it was a Bush choice.) The Post wasn't any help, with headlines screaming "Dems preparing for a fight" and other obvious items. This is going to be an ugly battle, embarrassing for our nation's leaders.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

There's been talk among some moderate Democrats in the last few months who are consigned to the idea that someday Roe v. Wade will be overturned, and speculate that this would actually be a good thing, since it would depoliticize the court to a great degree, and the issue could be decided at the state level, effectively taking it off the national political stage. I think it would dramatically change state-level politics as well. Constituents would pay a lot more attention to a state rep's or state senator's position on the issue. We'd likely see initiatives on the ballot, in states that allow initiatives, on this issue.

Other liberals feel uncomfortable with this idea, saying "the last time we allowed the states to decide such a fundamental issue, we were dealing with the issue of slavery, and I don't like how that turned out."

Overturning Roe would return the legal status of abortion to the status quoe ante. Prior to that decision abortion was regulated on a state-by-state basis, with some states being more liberal or restrictive about it than others.

10:38 AM  

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