In case there was any remaining uncertainty, Ted Olson reminded Americans today why he must never be on the Supreme Court. The former Bush Solicitor General and 2000 Florida recount mastermind took the pages of the Wall Street Journal to crow about the ultra-tight Democratic nominating process which he prays ends up in the courts. Hoping to add insult to injury, Olson looks forward to seeing Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton use the excreable Bush v. Gore decision to undo a superdelegate-driven conclusion to a deadlocked Democratic convention.
Olson's need for some election year schadenfreude is understandable. While President Bush is slightly more popular than MRSA, John McCain has been exhumed by Republican voters to replace him. (Ironically, Mike Huckabee is threatening legal action against the Washington State GOP over its premature conclusion in Saturday's caucus.) Meanwhile, energized Democrats are turning out in record numbers, dwarfing the Republican in every primary state.
So Ted Olson did what Republicans do and got his hate on. In a conservative flight of fancy more delicious than denying health care to children, Olson relishes the prospect of Clinton v. Obama:
We all know full well what could happen next. The array of battle-tested Democratic lawyers who fought for recounts, changes in ballot counting procedures, and even re-votes in Florida courts and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 would separate into two camps. Half of them would be relying on the suddenly-respectable Supreme Court Bush v. Gore decision that overturned the Florida courts' post-hoc election rules changes. The other half would be preaching a new-found respect for "federalism" and demanding that the high court leave the Florida court decisions alone.
Would the U.S. Supreme Court even take the case after having been excoriated for years by liberals for daring to restore order in the Florida vote-counting in 2000? And, would Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, the dissenters in Bush v. Gore, feel as strongly about not intervening if Sen. Obama was fighting against an effort to change a presidential election by changing the rules after the fact? Will there be a brief filed by Floridians who didn't vote in their state's primary because the party had decided, and the candidates had agreed, that the results wouldn't count?
Olson's rich history as a partisan hatchet man doesn't begin or end with his role in the Bush v. Gore. Olson, of course, is a leading light of the Federalist Society, the reactionary legal group which replaced the American Bar Association as the Bush administration's vetting arm for judicial appointments. (Federalist Society membership was revealed as a key litmus test during the U.S. attorneys scandal.) His late wife Barbara was a key player in the conservative war on Bill Clinton, and the couple was instrumental in Arkansas Project designed to destroy Clinton at all costs.
With Olson's fingerprints at the scenes of so many Republican crimes, nominating him to the Supreme Court became a difficult proposition even for the petulant George W. Bush. When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation last summer, conservative leaders urged Bush to nominate Olson as his replacement as a slap in the face to the new Democratic majority in Congress. That Bush instead went with born-again waterboarding enthusiast Michael Mukasey speaks volumes about the Olson's partisan ferocity.
The passing years and the death of his wife during the 9/11 attacks has not dulled either the passion or the arrogance of Ted Olson, conservative crusader. Just days after endorsing John McCain for President, Olson concluded his bilious Wall Street Journal screed with a final smug offer should the Democratic contest end up in litigation:
I'd be more than happy to loan Sen. Obama the winning briefs that helped secure the election of the legitimate winner of the 2000 election, George W. Bush.