Skip to comments.Specter Suggests a Chief Justice: O’Connor
Posted on 07/12/2005 12:42:56 PM PDT by Indy Pendance
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter floats a rather bizarre selection to replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist if, as expected, he retires this week: Outgoing Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Specter Suggests a Chief Justice: O'Connor (NYT | RSS)
Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, suggested on Sunday that President Bush could name Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring from the Supreme Court, to the position of chief justice if it opens up.
"I think it would be very tempting if the president said to Justice O'Connor, 'You could help the country now,' " Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and a pivotal player in any confirmation hearings, said in an interview on the CBS program "Face the Nation." "She has received so much adulation that a confirmation proceeding would be more like a coronation, and she might be willing to stay on for a year or so."
Although Mr. Specter's seeming endorsement of the idea was highly speculative - Justice O'Connor, 75, has announced her retirement, while Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 80, has not stepped down - it was the clearest of his several recent signals that he plans to steer his own course as he oversees hearings on a replacement for Justice O'Connor, independent of the president and of his party's conservative base.
Many social conservatives have denounced Justice O'Connor's votes on abortion, sodomy laws and public displays of religion. Hailing her resignation as a long-awaited chance to turn the court to the right, they have reminded Mr. Bush of his repeated praise for the court's conservative anchor, Justice Antonin Scalia.
Instead, Mr. Specter, who said he was not making a recommendation to the president, echoed a chorus of Democrats who have lauded Justice O'Connor since her retirement. Speaking on the same program, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, readily assented. "I think it would be a very doable thing," he responded to the idea of enticing Justice O'Connor out of retirement to become the new chief.
Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, a conservative organization, said Mr. Specter's remarks "tell me that if Senator Specter were president, we would have quite different nominees than what we are likely to get from a self-described conservative president like the one we have."
Of course, we already knew that. What we didn't know before is that Specter seemingly has no sense of national political judgment at all. Why would Bush want to nominate someone to Chief Justice who is 1) already old enough to have retired from the Court and 2) that demonstrably does not share his vision for what a Justice, let alone a Chief Justice, should be?
Further, as Steven Taylor observes,
Even setting aside any issues of ideology or judicial philosophy, why in the world would any President in his right mind appoint a Chief Justice who would only serve a year or so? This is an opportunity for the President to lay down a multi-decade marker on history, and Specter thinks that he might appoint OConnor?
Quite right. The politics of the moment is that the president will not be able to appoint a Scalia-type Chief, unless perhaps he works out a deal to elevate Scalia himself and appoint relatively moderate justices to the other two slots. Still, the best confirmable conservative under 55 is the obvious route for Bush to take. Permalink | Comments (4) | Send TrackBack | Trackbacks (1)
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Has Specter gone senile?! Posted by: Steven L. at July 11, 2005 11:45 Permalink
Ive observed that Specter has acted incompetently for a long time. He would serve our country best if he retired and let a true Democrat have his seat. Id rather have a donkey than a RHINO saying stupid stuff like he does. At least when it is a Democrat talking senseless crap I dont feel obligated to be embarrassed for someone claiming to be one of my party.
Sandra Day OConnor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America? Good gawd, what a nightmare! Good-bye Sandra, and good riddance!
He's a complete imbecile and a RINO!
He should be committed to the loony bin.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
This is the most convincing argument for Congressional term limits I've seen in the last week.
Could anyone in PA tell me with a straight face why you elected this maroon?
I agree, they term limited the president, why not the senate and congress. We wouldn't have kennedy, mccain, et al. It would give regular folks a chance to run. The founders never imagined serving the US as a career. With primo bennies.
Yes, I heard him this morning. Thought it a bit odd. He also said they advocated a non-judicial system person, like a Senator. Personally, I think Lindsey Graham has his eye on it. No thanks. It's time for Specter to go. I tried to do my part--I didn't vote for him in the primary.
Chemo induced brain rot.
He is undergoing cancer treatment & I fear between the Chemo & radiation therapy he just ain't all there so to speak.
That should tell you something, Arlen.
No, Rush talked about this the other day, I'm suprised it wasn't posted, and I searched.
I never vote for him in the primary. But then the dems run someone so bad against him I have no voice but to vote for him. This is his last term.
I agree. I've been through chemo. I think Arlen is having a few senior moments. He should give up his seat, even if it means Eddie Rendell will appoint a Democrat. Who'll know the diffrence?
You know, that might not be a bad idea, a non-lawyer on the supreme court. Come on, you and both could interpret the constitution as written.
I gather that when Co-President Hillery photo-copied Sen. Hatch's FBI file, she also photo-copied Sen. Specter's file.
What, other than fear of embarrassing disclosures, could explain why those two RINOs seem to have lost the "will to fight"?
Justice O'Connor has made it clear that she is resigning to be with her husband during the serious medical condition he is facing. What could possibly make Specter think that she would change her mind?
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