Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On The Mark -- Setting Precedent

I was reading the report this morning about how the White House will not release John Roberts' tax returns. Turns out they had set this policy for judicial nominations in 2001, but didn't bother to tell anyone.

But then it really struck me why John Roberts was nominated. Many people were preparing for a controversial battle for the next Supreme Court justice, but the Roberts nomination seemed to quash that at first because he seemed like such a good candidate (as evidenced by many quotes from right and left). I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but the way he's being presented is very JFKish, with the way his family dresses, the little kids dominating photos, etc.

Anyway, I realize now that, in the true White House strategic planning approach, this isn't about John Roberts. It's about presenting a "safe" candidate to set precedent in the confirmation process, because the White House knows the next one will be much more controversial and difficult (the person they really would like in there now).

By paving the road now, i.e., setting precedent, with John Roberts, it will be harder to challenge the confirmation of a much more controversial candidate.

We've seen this before. It's brilliant.

As I've said before, we need some Democrats who know how to play a good game of chess. Otherwise, they won't know what hit them (again) until it's too late.


Rags said...

That's an interesting point. However, I see a way to play against that, too.

If Democrats play nice and amicably approve Roberts, they can draw a real distinction between Roberts and someone inherintly evil, such as a junior Scalia. They could stand up and say, "We think this guy is a hack; as you saw with Roberts, we were happy to confirm a good candidate. This Scalia-type isn't the same." I think it could provide some real power for the next time.

Then again, I was never good at chess. I could be wrong. I've been told it's happened before.

Bert Ford said...

I agree that Roberts may be a “stealth” candidate, but he may not be softening up congress for a radical conservative. What if the next candidate were someone the Dems would find even harder to stonewall? (Say a self-made, black, woman, born to sharecroppers who pulled herself up by her bootstraps in the racially charged ‘60’s?)
I also agree that we may be looking at the disintegration of the Democrat party. This country needs a two party system. If not for good government, at least for good entertainment. Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, and Robert (he was actually a klansman!) Byrd are the Three Stooges of the Senate. Soon, this motley party of comedic geniuses, may go the way of John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Sam Kinneson, killed of by their own ridiculous exsesses. And, leave behind only the bittersweet memory of many good laughs, and a lot of legislation to overturn. Ahhh, good times. (knuckle in corner of eye, twist, twist)