June 28, 2005

"Seldom has the capital been so spoiling for a fight."

Here's the NYT front-page piece on the (non)retirement of Chief Justice Rehnquist. You just know everyone had articles like this ready to go and reframed them to account for the fact that there was no news. I just did a radio show on the retirement (that wasn't).

I talked about the strange vulturishness we somehow think is okay to let show when we're talking about Supreme Court Justices (and no one else). I think this odd departure from decorum is a natural consequence of giving judges life tenure. They're holding powerful positions and don't have regular terms: that's going to affect how we talk about them.

Still, I hope the Chief is doing well and laughing off the premature talk of his demise. May the rough treatment give him new strength.

From the Times piece:
Seldom has the capital been so spoiling for a fight, and seldom has the only person with the power to ring the opening bell been so Sphinx-like. The combination has put senators and interest groups into a strange state of suspended animation.

And how are we predicting they'll behave when that bell rings? My prediction is the Democrats will fight like mad, whoever is chosen, though they know they'll lose in the end. They've got to make a show for themselves. They'll try to use the occasion to present themselves to constituents as champions of individual rights and opponents of extremism. (The phrase "out of the mainstream" will be heard ... a lot.)

Will the Democrats emerge from this fight looking good? My prediction is no. I'm guessing various Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee (and elsewhere) will garble their attempts at characterizing the nominee as extreme and the other side will play each misstep and make them look quite foolish.

I await the juicy bloggables.

18 comments:

Gerry said...

Interviewer: What's your prediction for the fight?

Clubber Lang: My prediction? Pain.

dax said...

Gerry - "I pity de fool" that gets that nomination.

Ron said...

Ann: So you will perhaps get more blogads revenue (taxable, of course!) from further SCOTUS antics? Can the g'ment claim eminent domain on your blog? ;-)

It will be a fugly fight, though...maybe it should be covered by Go Fug Yourself....

SippicanCottage said...

Ron-
Not if she doesn't check her e-mail.

Mark Daniels said...

As I blog about, this vulturishness extends way beyond speculation about the Court and I think, has to do with us as Baby Boomers.

Goesh said...

I don't know, Ms. Ann, somehow William (may I call him Willy?)reminds me of Walter Mondale the time up in Minnesota they tried to ressurect him and prop him up and have him take a run at the Senate. Walter just seemed somehow befuddled. I really hate to have Willy's clerks telling him what to do. It doesn't seem right somehow. I think there are secret, little high-tech gadgets his clerks use when he is seated at the bench. They have some kind of remote observation system that utilizes mild electrical shocks to prod him along somehow. I mean no offense, and I retract any and all innuendo I ever posted about Ruth, including references to her little feet and my secret aspirations of groveling in front of her if she were wearing those old-fashioned button type shoes, but King Willy has no clothes! You can see it in his eyes. I do believe his colleagues will deem him to be failing and ailing to the point of having to retire, then there will be a huge fight to behold. Cordially-

Nick said...

Sounds like a certain blogger is spoiling for a fight over the fighting... or something like that. ;)

SteveR said...

Ruth (Let's get rid of Mother's Day) Bader Ginsburg gets confirmed 97-3. She will be conjuring up a new consitution for another 20 years. Fine, that's how it works. There are also elections that determine who gets to choose judges. If you want to choose judges try winning elections. Bill Clinton won and picked two very fine justices (eyes roll).

L. Ron Halfelven said...

Winning elections is particularly important if you want to criticize judicial nominees based on your claimed superior understanding of the "mainstream".

Gerry said...

Dax- perfect!

Kathleen B. said...

Winning elections is particularly important if you want to criticize judicial nominees based on your claimed superior understanding of the "mainstream".

that is a good point Paul. I would submit that winning by a narrow margin should also affect what the winner dubs "mainstream."

SteveR said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SteveR said...

I feel comforted to know that Ted Kennedy is making sure we stay in the mainstream, especially since that's a new but obviously essential qualification for a federal judge.

Kathleen B. said...

agreed Steve. It would have totally sucked for Republicans to have been yelling (screaming?) "extremist!" when Marsha Berzon, Richard Paez and Willy Fletcher were nominated.

SteveR said...

Kathleen B: Impressive, right out of the Democratic talking points. I'll tell you what, give Bush a 97-3 on *anyone* he nominates to SCOTUS, and they don't have to be as far to the right as Ginsburg is the other way, and we'll call it even.

Kathleen B. said...

but making obscure and irrelevant references to Teddy Kennedy, and totally white-washing past judicial nomination practices, is totally normal and in no way part of Karl's approved commentary.

SteveR said...

Kathleen: I was actually giving you credit for including some good support in your response. Its a decent arguement and I apologize for it coming across differently. My point is that there are really very few good reasons not to confirm judges on either side and to Ann's original post, it will not help the Democrats to "fight like mad."

Kathleen B. said...

it will not help the Democrats to "fight like mad."

well considering the Democrats seem incompetent to do anything except not cave on Social Security when the President is polling at 30% favorables on that issue, I do not doubt that whatever the Democrats do in response will suck. I think you will not see a 97-3 vote, but you may see yeas in the high 70s or 80s, especially if it is a replacement for Rehnquist. It will only get ugly if O'Connor goes.

I think the Dems should offer a trade: Scalia sails through as the Chief Justice, in return we will approve your intelligent, principled conservative (but not arch conservative) associate justice nominee.