Bush continues to unite . . . the opposition around the World and here in the United States. This time Bush does it by promising to renominate
a slew of rejected judicial nominees:
President Bush said Thursday that when the new Congress convenes next month he will renominate 12 candidates to the federal appeals courts who were denied confirmation in his first term. In doing so, he signaled his willingness to begin what is expected to be another bitter fight with Senate Democrats over what they assert are his efforts to shift the courts in a markedly more conservative direction. Although the announcement appears at odds with Mr. Bush's post-election remarks that he would reach out to opponents, it is in line with what had been a principal campaign theme for him and Vice President Dick Cheney, namely that Mr. Bush would battle Democratic opposition to his judicial choices.
The White House statement, which also called for the renomination of eight candidates for the federal district courts, quickly produced expressions of dismay from Senate Democrats, who said Mr. Bush was not seeking any compromise with them in hopes of improving relations on the issue of judges. Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat who has been a leader in opposing many of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees, said: "In this opening shot, the White House is making it clear that they are not interested in bipartisanship when it comes to nominating judges. This starts to poison the well when everyone on our side was hoping to make a new start."
I'm shocked Sen. Schumer. Now where are my gambling winnings? Who are some of the nonpareils
worthy of this battle:
Among the candidates the president said on Thursday he would renominate is William J. Haynes IV, the Pentagon's general counsel, who has been deeply embroiled in controversy over memorandums he wrote or supervised that secretly authorized harsh treatment, even torture, for detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in Iraq. Mr. Haynes's nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Va., was suspended when the issue erupted and he was asked by the Judiciary Committee to provide material about his role in the issue and failed to do so.
Other candidates Mr. Bush said would be renominated who had been blocked by Democrats include Priscilla R. Owen of Texas, William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama and Janice Rogers Brown of California.
Torture again, among other things. A lot to fight about it seems. Schumer seems ready. Who else will be?
Two notable names not going forward - Kuhl and Pickering.
The Times sees this reaction as notable - I'm not seeing what's notable about it:
But the most notable reaction came from Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, a Republican who is expected to become the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Specter, who was re-elected in November and seems to have survived a challenge from some conservative Republicans who had opposed his ascension to the chairmanship, suggested that he was also troubled by Mr. Bush's announcement.
"It has been my hope that we might be able to approach this whole issue with some cooler perspective," he said in an interview. "I would have preferred to have some time in the 109th Congress to improve the climate to avoid judicial gridlock and future filibusters."
Mr. Specter, who said he had been talking to both Republicans and Democrats in order to improve the chances for compromise, said it might now be "difficult to change the atmosphere with the submission of these names." But he said the president was, in any case, entitled to do as he had done and that as chairman he would "play the cards that are dealt," in trying to get Mr. Bush's nominees confirmed.
What's the lay of the land?
When Mr. Bush sends the 20 names to the new Senate next month, however, there will be at least two factors that will be different from the current situation. Democrats blocked 10 of his appeals court nominees by filibuster. But the Republicans have increased their majority in the Senate from 51 to 55, making it more feasible to acquire the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster, which is the threat of extended debate. In addition, the newly renominated candidates will come before the Senate at a time when all sides are staking out their political stances in anticipation of an early vacancy on the Supreme Court and an ensuing battle over whoever is nominated to fill it.
An interesting time for the Democratic Party in opposition.