Monday, September 05, 2005
Chief Justice Roberts: Now that John Roberts will be replacing the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the fever swamps on the left will quit their carping about how John Roberts, as Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, has to be a moderate and the balance on the court mustn't be changed.
I won't hold my breath.
Because Sen. Chuck Schumer floated a ridiculous and dishonest idea before Rehnquist's corpse was even cold.
I think it would be a great idea for President Bush to ask Justice O'Connor to stay on as chief justice for, say, a year. She is respected by all sides. At a time when the nation needs unity and stability more than ever, she would bring it, and it would be a breathtaking choice. And then we could proceed with the nomination of Judge Roberts for associate judge [sic]. But having Justice O'Connor stay as chief justice--the first woman chief justice, someone respected by just about everybody--would be a huge, huge step to unity in this country, particularly on the judiciary, which has been such a divisive issue.
It's been a divisive issue because its the last branch of government that the liberal left still controls -- and one it wouldn't had Republican presidents too often been decieved and snookered into naming judges who "grew" into liberals. (There's no one on the court who ever "grew" into a conservative.)
But as OpinionJournal.com's James Taranto pointed out, Schumer's seemingly altruistic suggestion is a cover for blatant partisan political motives.
So the president is supposed to appoint a temporary chief justice with the promise that she would retire just in time for the Democrats (they hope) to pick up Senate seats, strengthening their hand in waging a campaign against her replacement? Dream on, Chuck.
I've no doubt that if the Democrats were in control of the Senate and held the White House that Schumer would be carping for a quick confirmation of a replacement because it was important for maintaining "stability" on the court.
Roberts' confirmation hearings will be delayed by a couple of days, but definitely not by a year. If Schumer would like someone nominated temporarily to the court -- at least until the 2006 election -- then the president might want to offer to accomodate him ... by giving Robert Bork a recess appointment.
You'd be able to hear the screams from New York here in San Diego.