Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The safe choice

Unless somebody turns up a photo of John Roberts dressed in women’s lingerie and spike heels while being spanked by his dominatrix, it is highly unlikely that his confirmation to the Supreme Court will see much turbulence.
While I imagine there will be a large number of Democrats who will vote against Roberts on principle, I think they are not likely to launch a filibuster unless something very sinister suddenly turns up to tarnish Roberts’ squeaky clean image.
Earlier I had advised Bush to pick a conservative out of the 90 percent pool of acceptable nominees and not the 10 percent of far-right nutjobs who would be sure to spark a confirmation fight. Now it seems as if Bush took this advice - sort of - and went with the most extreme conservative he could find in that 90 percent segment. Roberts may be the most conservative jurist who did not prompt a filibuster fight with Democrats.
I think it is interesting that Bush decided to break precedent by not choosing a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court. When Thurgood Marshall, the first black jurist, retired, Bush Sr. opted to replace him with another black judge, although his ideological opposite. But Bush Jr. decided not to replace the first female jurist with another woman leaving Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the only female on the nine-member court. That could change, of course, if William Rehnquist still steps down later this summer as expected.
There is still much to be learned about John Roberts and initial opinions will likely change, but right now it looks as if Bush made a safe choice by picking the most conservative person he could find who would not spark an all-out confirmation battle.

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