It is quite comical of you to echo the declaration of various liberal organizations that "We are entitled to consensus nominees." The president is not obligated to do any such thing.
Moderate nominees are chosen for two general reasons. In one scenario, the president concludes that it is his best interest (and maybe the "country's" as well) to select a nominee that will get a virtually unanimous confidence vote at confirmation. In the other case, the opposition is in the Senate majority, and is in position to deny candidates it deems "extreme."
Elections are the X-factor in judicial nominations, not the "out of the mainstream" diagnosis. It was President Reagon's prerogative to elevate William Rehnquist to Chief Justice and appoint Antonin Scalia to Rehnquist's vacated seat, when he was re-elected in 1984. The Democrats used that same privilege following the 1986 midterm victory, when they turned down Robert Bork. Perhaps you also recall that President Clinton's mandate to reshape the High Court was undisputed. In fact, Senator Hatch recommended the staunchly pro-choice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to replace Justice Byron White, a Roe dissenter. Amazingly, the Democrats only had 55 senate seats!
When the chessboard is reversed (Republican president and 55 Republican seats), the president needs 60 seats to put his imprint on the judiciary? The majority of the Democrats had the wisdom and humility to admit this notion to be absurd. If you are wondering why your allies failed to stop Alito, you are wasting your time and breath. The effort was doomed in Nov. 2004, when the Republicans took four senate seats in addition to four more years for President Bush. Progressive groups lost the short-term judicial fight when Senator Daschle's rump was greeted by an elephant's penis, instead of a warm, 6-year seat.
Mar 6 2007 - 5:39am