Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The Next Scotus Nominee

The Gonzalez Mistake

You've probably noticed that I haven't added my voice to the chorus of folks praising or balking at the Roberts nomination. My peronsonal belief is that coming from the Bush administration, he is probably the best we could expect. His years working as an appellate attorney and arguing before the Supreme Court has given him an almost professorial air. And from my experience in appellate work, you really develop a great sense of both sides of the issue when you're arguing an appeal. Roberts, to me, comes across as a lawyers-lawyer and I think his underlying respect for the law will likely temper any (if at all) tendencies to go all Scalia on us. Conservative - yes, no doubt, but annoyingly so - I'm not to sure. He leaves me hopeful for the future of the court.

On the other hand, the rumors and speculation about the next nominee have this town all a twitter. Bush has coyly indicated that 'diversity' is important to him. Lots of folks see that as an indication that he'll go with one of the Ediths or perhaps his long-time friend Alberto Gonzalez. I'm thinking it is probably the later of those choices. First, Bush is loyal to a fault to his friends and it has been rumored for years that he wants Gonzalez on the high court. Second, Gonzalez would be the first Hispanic justice for SCOTUS and the GOP has been drooling over the growing hispanic vote for years. Finally, Gonzalez is not a right wing zealot, but more right of center where the Bush dynasty seems to be most comfortable. So that's my speculative pick.

But Gonzalez would also pose some serious problems for Bush. It is, after all, Mr. Gonzalez who wrote and supposedly approved the use of 'torture' on enemy combatants. If you've been tracking the left-ish side of the blogoshpere you'll note that it has emerged that solidiers in Iraq have been running websites where they post grusome picutures of killed, captured and tortured Iraqi combatants. The sometimes annoying, sometimes on the money America Blog has been on top of this issue. (Caution, pictures not safe for work). AndrewSullivan.com has also been on the case (can't link to specific posts on his site, so just go check it out).

The damage done from the prison abuse scandal will take years to fix and it appears that the problems are much, much deeper than we were led to believe. A Gonzalez nomination will bring back the prison abuse scandal and shine a bright light into the current web-torture pictures and thrust the already unpopular conduct of the war back into the spotlight. Not a good move for the President and his approval ratings slump.

While I generally am sanguine about Roberts, I'd likely be opposed to a Gonzalez nomination as I am sure many others on the right-ish side of the specturm would be.

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