Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What About Judges?

One interesting question that arises as a consequence of the Democrats victory in last week's elections is what happens to President Bush's judicial nominations strategy? It is a virtual certainty that the weaker and/or more controversial of the pending nominees (e.g., Haynes, Wallace, Myers) are finished. There is no possibility of these nominees being confirmed, and re-nominating them again when Congress reconvenes after the New Year would be a waste of time. Others, such as Randy Smith and Peter Kiesler could still possibly be confirmed if the White House and the Republican Senate leadership are committed to spending the political capital necessary to get them confirmed. The more interesting element of this question is what will happen if there should be a Supreme Court vacancy before the expiration of the President's term. Conventional wisdom is that the President would have no prayer of getting a solid concervative (such as Janice Rogers Brown) confirmed. But conventional wisdom can be, and often is, wrong. One of the critical determinants of whether a conservative Supreme Court nominee can be confirmed at this point is whether new Democrat senators such as Bob Casey and Jim Webb cast their votes consistent with the themes they emphasized during the campaign, or whether they bow down and do the bidding of the old bull liberals in the leadership. Time may well tell.

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