November 10, 2010

Bush on Harriet Miers, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito.

Jan Crawford finds the stuff about Supreme Court nominations in Bush's book, "Decision Points":
"While I know Harriet would have made a fine justice, I didn't think enough about how the selection would be perceived by others," Mr. Bush writes. "I put my friend in an impossible situation. If I had to do it over again, I would not have thrown Harriet to the wolves of Washington."...

--After he tapped Roberts for chief justice when William Rehnquist died, he only considered women candidates to replace O'Connor. "I didn't like the idea of the Supreme Court having only one woman."
But Roberts was originally picked for the O'Connor position.  The idea of appointing a woman, then, didn't matter all that much.
--There were "frustrating roadblocks" for most of the women candidates. When several senators said they were impressed by Miers, he concluded "she would make an outstanding justice." Miers was "shocked" when he asked if she was interested.

--No one in the White House ever suggested conservatives would revolt over her nomination. Bush suggests the opposition was elitist because Miers didn't go to an Ivy League school and "is not glib."
In addition to Miers, Bush says he considered Patricia Owen, but he thought Miers would be easier to confirm. After all the trouble with Miers, he switched to Alito, who, he writes, was "ill at ease" with Bush at first. Bush relaxed him by talking about baseball.

Bush says wanted to avoid appointing another Souter — Souter, who disappointed Bush's father, by "evolv[ing] into a different kind of judge."
--Roberts was not the unanimous choice. Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales backed Judge Mike Luttig. Miers supported Alito. Chief of Staff Andy Card and adviser Karl Rove favored Roberts. (Which means J. Harvie Wilkinson and Edith Brown Clement, the other two contenders early on, didn't have prominent backers.)

--Brett Kavanaugh, now a federal appeals court judge, told Bush Luttig, Alito and Roberts would all be solid justices. He suggested Bush ask a "tiebreaker question" of which man would be the most effective leader. To Bush, that was Roberts.
It seems that Roberts has a special appeal to Bush, who liked his "gentle soul" and "quick smile."

43 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Bush could have appointed Putin based upon his soul, but Roberts spoke better English. I bet gentle Vladimir could have gotten the 5 votes he needed any time he wanted them.

edutcher said...

The Demos always seem to be more hard-headed about this, but, then, the appellate courts are often the only way to get what they want.

This passage highlights the problem of 'compassionate conservatism'. Too often it devolved into squishy, guilt-driven liberalism.

traditionalguy said...

Bush could have appointed Putin based upon his soul, but Roberts spoke better English. I bet gentle Vladimir could have gotten the 5 votes he needed any time he wanted them.

The Noes would have found themselves dead, no doubt.

Brian Day said...

From near the end of the article:
I've reported that Mr. Bush was engaged in the selection process, and that he cared deeply about getting his nominations right because he was acutely aware of how his father had failed with Souter. His book makes that clear--and also makes clear Mr. Bush he believes he succeeded.

I think that is a fair assessment. For all of his other failing, his SC appointments will be his legacy.

rcocean said...

Interesting how Republican Presidents never want to fight for SCOTUS nominees , except for Reagan. Its almost as if they don't really care. Unlike the Demmy crats.

Miers, just one reason why Bush was a good man and a bad president. That and almost destroying the Republican party, getting us in endless no-win wars, and supporting:

open borders, amnesty, TARP, massive government spending, massive trade and budget deficits, privatizing SS, deregulating the banks and Wall Street, affirmative action, foreign aid, and no child left behind.

Other than that, he was great. Yee Haw!

traditionalguy said...

More dull SCOTUS gossip.
We need some spicy stuff on religion or breasts...like a shot of Harriet Miers after augmentation procedures done to enhance her qualifications for the Supreme Court nomination. If she had only made a clean breast of things, then the Senate may have been forced to confirm her since her cup size was larger than Ann Coulter's, arguing for her like a good Title IX case.

Alex said...

Obviously the presence of ovaries makes for better judicial process right?

James said...

Is anyone else disturbed by the line "he only considered women candidates to replace O'Connor"? Why exclude people because of their sex? Or am I simply blinded by my white male privilege?

c3 said...

I think this points to one of GW's weaknesses as a leader: the tendency to see some one as as "good guy" and that perception overshadowing other deficits.

He also doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would have been impressed with a Harvard Law degree (and not because he went to Yale)

Trooper York said...

Whenever I see someone talking about SCOTUS I misread it and think they are talking about SCROTUM.

"The President announced today that he would only appoint a woman for a postition on the SCROTUM."

Michael said...

A tragedy for the country was the Democrats' filbuster threats over Miguel Estrada for an appellate court. They knew how qualified he is but did not want to give Bush the chance for the first Hispanic justice. Instead we got the "wise Latina" who will be an embarrassment.

ricpic said...

Bush picked Miers so Ginsburg wouldn't be lonely?!

Yeah, that trumps considerations of competence, if you're a LIBERAL!

That's the biggest joke of all about the liberals' demonization of Bush: they actually thought he was the enemy.

BJM said...

I'm reading "Decision Points" just finished this chapter and it was Laura Bush who strongly felt that O'Conner's seat should be filled by a woman and persuaded Bush after Roberts was confirmed as Chief Justice.

Patricia Owens was his initial choice but was told by the Hill that she could not be confirmed after the bruising 2005 battle and compromise to seat her on the appeals court.

Thus far I can't put the book down, it's a quick read mainly as the material is still so fresh in our memory and it is arranged by topic in a chronological progression. A proficient reader would easily finish it in a couple of hours, if that.

Oh...and Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald is a disgrace to his profession.

I'm also reading the first vol of Mark Twain's bio...it's wonderful to "hear" the Twain's voice again.

BJM said...

@c3

He also doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would have been impressed with a Harvard Law degree (and not because he went to Yale)

Bush received his MBA from Harvard, so you're probably correct.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"The idea of appointing a woman, then, didn't matter all that much."

I have a dream. That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the presence or absence of a vulva - but by the content of their character. I have a dreeeeeeeam today. - Martin Luther Mulva.

The Crack Emcee said...

Trooper,

"The President announced today that he would only appoint a woman for a postition on the SCROTUM."

Ballsy.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oh - Troop - you gotta click the last link to "get" it.

victoria said...

Fitzgerald is a hero, BJM, a man with the courage of his convictions. Were there were more people like him as prosecutors.
There will be no revelations from this book, Harriet Meiers was an awful choice and there is just no way around it. I am not a conservative by any, any stretch but Roberts was a good choice. Alito, maybe not.

Vicki from Pasadena

Trooper York said...

Really Vicki?

I thought you were a conservative.

You sure had me fooled.

victoria said...

It's ok Trooper, many are fooled. LOL



Vicki

Bob Ellison said...

I've been reading Bush's book, and it scares me a bit. He comes across as shallow. I know that was the standard assessment on the left, but seriously, it's a rare thing in a POTUS.

The Miers nomination was probably the biggest proof of Bush's lack of depth during his presidency. Alito was a sound replacement, but I wonder what might have happened if conservatives hadn't revolted. The liberal bloc on the court seems curiously uncurious about the law. If the Miers nomination hadn't flamed out, what would we have today?

Trooper York said...

I know it's hard to figure people out.

You know that Cedarford's real name is Schlmo Glickstein. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

And what the Crack Emcee really looks like?

Trooper York said...

And of course hdhouse!

You just can never tell about people on the internets. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

Wait... our friend Lonewacko emailed me this photo since he doesn't want to be left out!

Trooper York said...

Hey Titus wanted to get in on the act!

Along with his new Indian husband.

They make such a cute couple.

America's Politico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
America's Politico said...

GOP is finished- you have nowhere to go but down. Don't waste time.

Now, I do admire Roberts. See his NYT story (multimedia, last slide) - A letter from Judge Roberts requesting admission to La Lumiere.

Roberts was going to be the CJOTUS.

Just like Obama was going to the POTUS (see my note about Bali in the other thread).

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/21/politics/21nominee.html

blake said...

OK, now AP has become the desperate spin-off of that great TV series that just makes you feel worse about the original.

AP is "After M*A*S*H".

Trooper York said...

Actually, he is more like Joey!

BJM said...

@Victoria

Fitzgerald is a hero, BJM, a man with the courage of his convictions.

Initially the French thought the same of Jean-Paul Marat.

RuyDiaz said...

AP;

Seriously, does George Soros pays you to try to demoralize the conservative base, or do you that for free?

Yes, the GOP is finished. Just like the Dems were going to win the House.... right.

BJM said...

@Bob Ellison

I agree, Bush confirms in his own words that what we saw is what we got.

Which serves us better, the intellectual with situational ethics or the lightweight with a fixed moral compass?

dick said...

Bob Ellison,

You are talking about Miers. Think about this. Kagan appeared before the SCOTUS on a minor case and she was so bad that the SCOTUS actually commented on bad she was. Miers was not only a successful attorney but also the president of the state Bar Association and the lawyer for POTUS. Seems as if she offered more than either the Latina or Kagan did. And she was loath to take the appointment. Guess we will have to suffer from the Latina and Kagan for years now. Also seems like Bush has offered much better candidates than Zero has.

c3 said...

it's a quick read

So many punch lines from this one phrase


dangerous

Kirk Parker said...

"open borders, amnesty, TARP, massive government spending, massive trade and budget deficits, privatizing SS, deregulating the banks and Wall Street, affirmative action, foreign aid, and no child left behind."

Hmmmm, which of these is not like the others?

rcocean said...

"Hmmmm, which of these is not like the others?"

Maybe someone cares, I don't.

Fred4Pres said...

Roberts, Alito and Luttig were all good choices. Too bad Luttig did not get up there too.

The Ivy League elitism on Miers? Please. Someone has his head up his ass.

bagoh20 said...

If the subject is Bush on Harriet Miers, we need our resident expert: ironweights-ironrails.

AST said...

Harriet Myers would have made a fine justice and I think she would have been less easily sucked into Washington's liberal culture.

It isn't all that hard to be a justice if you understand and practice the principle of judicial constraint. There are some instances that call for exceptions, but Article 10 should be freely applied. (I just couldn't say "liberally applied".)

DaveW said...

You gotta hand it to AP. It takes some breathtaking shamelessness to be back talking smack about republicans are going to lose this or that after every single thing he/she/it said was obliterated only 10 days ago.

HDHouse said...

Ahhh the workings of a great mind revealed....

.....Hail to the chief he's the one we all say hail to....

AlphaLiberal said...

The latest news is that Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito has been working the rubber chicken circuit to raise money for right wing organizations.

He is a fraud, by no means an impartial justice.

The American Spectator is the rag that ran all the anti-Clinton stories which were found to be a strong of lies.

He also helped raise money for Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), where James O'Keefe, the convicted video liar, was involved.

Dude should be impeached.

AlphaLiberal said...

Here is a photo of the hyper-partisan Sam Alito helping fundraise for ISI.

These guys are so corrupt.

We also have Clarence Thomas' wife forming her own Tea Party group and raising large donations. Is someone buying influence with the dimmest bulb on the bench? Ya think?

And then we have Thomas and Scalia speaking to political meetings organized and led by the oil billionaire Koch brothers, patrons of the Tea Party.

Impeach their asses.