Saturday, February 19, 2005

In the court of the crimson king

The seemingly pending openings on the Supreme Court have many folks worried, liberals and conservatives alike. And with William Rehnquist looking like he might be down for the count, the chatter is about who might replace him, as well as who might be appointed when some of the others, including O'Connor, resign.

Of course, the goal, as always, is to appoint the most qualified jurists, the ones with experience, who have published opinions and have withstood the vetting process to assure that they have no idealogical agenda, but rather believe in the Constitution.

Constitution, what is it? It's supposed to be the law of the land, but that's not important right now.

DavidNYC at DailyKos has this assessment of the likely candidates:

The New York Times is reporting that Chief Justice Rehnquist is still on the DL as the Supreme Court reconvenes for the second half of the judicial season on Tuesday. A lot of speculation has focused on who will replace Old Bill at the top of the lineup - will it be Nino? could it be (gasp!) Clarence - but to me, the more interesting question is which rookie will get called up from the farm team.

I scoured through numerous news accounts and they all keep pointing toward the same basic list of eleven candidates:

Samuel A. Alito Jr., a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia who has been nicknamed "Scalito" because he has views similar to those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Janice Rogers Brown, the first black woman to serve on California's Supreme Court. Her nomination to a federal appeals court has been blocked by Senate Democrats.

Miguel Estrada, a native of Honduras whose nomination to an appeals court was also blocked by Democrats. He's a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Emilio Miller Garza, judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Bush's father, the first President Bush, considered the Hispanic judge a Supreme Court prospect.

Alberto R. Gonzales, [Attorney General, about whom little else need be said at this point].

Edith Jones, a judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and former general counsel for the Texas Republican Party. Bush's father considered her for the high court.

J. Michael Luttig, put on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., by President Bush's father. Clerked for Scalia when Scalia was an appeals court judge.

Theodore B. Olson, who was Bush's solicitor general until this summer and represented him in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case. Olson's wife, Barbara, was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

John Roberts, a former Rehnquist clerk named by President Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Larry Thompson, who was deputy attorney general and the Bush administration's highest-ranking black law-enforcement official until he quit in 2003 to join a think tank, Brookings Institution. He is a longtime friend of Justice Clarence Thomas.

James Harvie Wilkinson III, judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and author of a decision that gave the government broad authority to hold U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without constitutional protections. The ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court.

As is often the case with potential SCOTUS nominees, these aren't people whom (for the most part) we've heard of. But a little Googling should rectify that. Let's all get to work and find out what skeletons (or at least, what poorly-reasoned extremist legal opinions) lurk in this gang's collective closet. We're gonna have a confirmation fight on our hands no matter who Bush names. Batter up!

P.S. Credit to spiggz for originally inspiring me to post on this topic.

I included the whole post because, well, it was really good.

Read it, and worry.