Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Here's my guess about the President's announcement tonight: Clement's it.

Court speculation centers on female judge.

Thanks to a link... nay, two links on Howard Bashman's How Appealing, I now feel confident that my prediction to him will prove accurate:

I predictify that Edith Clement, formerly of the Eastern District court in Louisiana and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, educated at Univ. of Alabama and Tulane Law, former Law Clerk to Christenberry of the Eastern District of LA, white female (see her biography unless it's overloaded, in which case, try google cache...) and double-Bush appointee, will be our newest nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

My said predictification in no way obliges me to use, recognize, or consume crow in the event my prediction is, much like my previous ones, dead wrong in the light of subsequent events.

However, as I told Howard, I don't think Edith H. Jones is confirmable, despite her eminent qualifications, and so I think the Other Edith it will be.

Anyone care to state that I'm right or wrong? Time stamps will be honest.

[update: According to ABC news, I'm already wrong, and it's not even 9 p.m. yet. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/SupremeCourt/story?id=953790 "Source: Clement Not Bush's Choice for Supreme Court." Well, thanks a lot, Associated Press. You've helped preserve my perfect record for predictions, at zero. Well, if I still think Jones is unconfirmable, and Clement's not it, and Gonzales is unlikely, that leaves a few female/minority/esteemed conservative intellectual candidates, plus the rest of the country. Ones I'd like to see: Maybe McConnell, maybe Luttig, maybe Roberts, certainly a genuine female or minority candidate who is less hidebound or doctrinaire or rigid or wrong than Scalia. If Scalia is Bush's model for diversifying the bench, I'm throwing in the towel. However, I suspect Bush is thinking more along the lines of Gonzales (although as I've said he's unlikely to pick him, in my [worthless] opinion) or Judges Janice Rogers Jones or Priscilla Owen.

Which do think it will be, now that I've been proven wrong about who I thought it already was? Well, if you stick out your neck, I'll stick out mine. Or more likely, I'll "forget" to post until after the announcement, and then declare that I was predicting them (mentally) all along.]


At 1:18 AM, July 20, 2005, Anonymous shell said...

Well, Robert's nominated. It seems that he has a conservative reputation. Why would you want to see him nominated? <--just wondering

At 7:52 AM, July 20, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

Hiya, Shell.

Well, it's like this: Bush could have gone one of two or three ways.

He could have nominated a "conservative minority," meaning someone like Judge Janice Rogers Brown, an outspoken critic of Roe v. Wade on the bench. Such a candidate, like Justice Thomas, is bad for the country. By this I mean, they have views which, expressed in their opinions, harm Americans, net. Justice Thomas' nomination was supported by individuals and groups, including the NAACP, which were unmistakably harmed by his jurisprudence. I'm not going to say there aren't rational or prudential reasons for supporting the elevation of someone who will harm you (for example, I favor candidates who promise to raise my taxes), but Thomas was not a good Justice on the liberalism/moderation scale, according to most liberals.

Thomas has made some rulings I like, no question; but I wouldn't come out the same way he does on many issues, some of very high importance, also no question.

But worse than his effects, was Thomas's confirmation process. It damaged our country. It damaged our politics. Not as much as Bork's oh-so-deserved Borking, but in different ways. Are you old enough to remember Anita Hill and her desperate, doomed attempt to make old, white, conservative, misogynistic Senators understand what it is like to be a black woman harassed by a black male supervisor? Can you imagine being her, and being attacked by black men and women because her stepping forward imperiled Thomas' appointment? Being supported by white women, some of them racist, on the ground that the woman is always right? I happen to think she wasn't lying; that Senator Specter was a jerk of the highest magnitude in that shameful episode; and that if Thomas had not denied it but had instead been presented with the unmistakable proof (porn video shop rental credit card slips? videotapes of him holding a videotape of Long Dong Silver?) then he would have gone down in flames, like two of Nixon's candidates. Water under the bridge now, perhaps.

Ah, Roberts. That's where you started.

Roberts is a smart man, a collegial man, a sitting Judge on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which A3G calls a "magnificently fabulous court that deserves our utmost veneration." See this post, point the Third. Very funny.

Now, Roberts has some interesting opinions under his belt, but he's very new. He's not a long-serving judge, by any means. See generally the Supreme Court Nomination Blog, at the Roberts subpage, and particularly the "Selected Opinions" link, already bumped down a few posts.

Similar ideology to O'Connor... not exactly. Similar to the Chief, yes. The man is certainly no outsider, as many have noted; he's spent most of his professional career arguing before the Supreme Court. So that disposes of some of my hopes, and maybe some of Arlen Specter's as well.

But a Smart Guy brought onto the Supreme Court will inevitably do what new Justices do: drift. Not necessarily "away" or "left," just towards their own essential nature in Judging. For Thomas, that was usually "rightward," except when it was "leftward." For Souter, it was substantially left. For Rehnquist... well, the man's been pretty consistent, with some flirtations left and right, but maintaining almost the same ideological position he was in when he first joined the Court.

Someone wrote recently on townhall (no link provided or wanted) that all lawyers are pretty liberal, and that judges get more liberal as time goes on. I laughed at this note, because here's my take:

Judges get smarter the longer they're on a court, not more desperate for admiration. Look at Scalia's increasingly violent dissents over the years, as well as his mellowing when people agree with him. Look at Harlan, look at Thomas, look at all the lonely dissenters. They learned some wisdom as they went along, maybe, and it took them far far away from the crowd. All judges get better at what they do the more they do it, until the very end when they're no good at that extremely challenging task anymore.

Roberts is going to walk into a whole new world, from being a near-leader (or sometimes actual leader, when he writes unanimous opinions) to the New Kid on the Bench.

With any luck, some of his most ardent supporters will be in for some pleasant (for me) surprises.

At 3:23 PM, July 20, 2005, Blogger Sean Sirrine said...

Thanks for the comments over at my blawg. I read your stuff in my RSS feeder, but don't have a link to your site up currently because I'm changing over to powerblogs and am currently working on the formating.


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