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There goes another conspiracy theory...

When the news came out that a group of Senators had given President Bush a list of their own members they thought would do well on the Supreme Court, I listened carefully. Naturally, all were Republicans, but I looked beyond the obvious and wondered just what the Democrats were up to. The mention of one of my own Senators, Judd Gregg (whom I've never really liked, but is a "family friend" of the Bushes), really caught my ear. ANd that's when I started concocting my own conspiracy theory.

No one expects President Bush to nominate a Democrat or a liberal to the Supreme Court (although he could do a lot worse than someone like, say, Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman). His eventual nominee would have at least some conservative tendencies. Hell, if Clinton can name a former counsel to the ACLU to the Court, Bush's nominee should have at least SOME conservative credentials. So, what were the Democrats up to by suggesting Senators?

My first thought was that they were playing another game entirely. They were looking past the Court, and hoping to sneak in a gain in the Senate.

In most states, when a Senate seat becomes vacant, the governor of that state appoints a successor to fill out the departed Senator's term. Now, in New Hampshire, we have a Democrat governor (who I cheerfully voted for last November), which means that if Gregg were to be confirmed to the Court (spit), Governor Lynch would appoint a Democrat to succeed him and erode the Republican majority there.

But that didn't hold water. It turns out that while Gregg comes from a state with a Democratic governor, the other four (Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike Dewine of Ohio, and Mike Crapo of Idaho) all hail from states held by Republicans. So that theory went right out the window.

So my second theory began to evolve. Gregg's been in the Senate since 1992, and he's a pretty influential member. If they couldn't swing a Democratic replacement for a Senator, could they at least put a dent in the seniority system?

That one didn't work too well, either. Dewine has been in the Senate since 1994, Crapo since 1998, Graham since 2002, and Martinez just got elected in 2004. None of them have a great deal of seniority built up.

So in the end, I am reminded of the danger of extrapolating conclusions from narrow evidence (in this case, extending information about Gregg to cover other senators lumped in with him) and find my perfectly wonderful conspiracy theory smashed on the bitter rocks of reality.

But gosh darn, it was fun while it lasted...


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Comments (10)

The conspiracy theory =I= r... (Below threshold)

The conspiracy theory =I= read (on the op-ed page of the WSJ) was that all of these senators are cozy with the tort lawyers groups... i.e., they have no problem with ridiculous class-action lawsuits, and thus would replace O'Connor (who was rather strict against punitive jury awards far in excess of the actual damage) with someone who wouldn't strike down million-dollar awards against shoddy car paint jobs.

Yes, Jay, but who could bla... (Below threshold)

Yes, Jay, but who could blame you for being suspicious in the first place given the recent past? Let's not look so much at the fact that they're Republicans, but are they conservatives? Are they originalists? I can't help, too, but think that the Democrats are, first and foremost, and above everything else, worried about Roe vs. Wade.

Because of what FloridaOyst... (Below threshold)

Because of what FloridaOyster said I think Bush will nominate someone who is not a judge. Perhaps a constitutional lawyer OR a judge who has never ruled on abortion cases. As long as his or her personal views on abortion are not of public record then the democrats can't go nuts over them or find another Anita Hill to trash the nominee.

Democratic prism: Roe v. Wa... (Below threshold)

Democratic prism: Roe v. Wade but also Bush v. Gore.

They know that presidential elections are going to be 50/50 and they want a SCOTUS that says: "Oh, you want to recount with a different criteria than was in place at the time of the election? Thats fine, go right ahead, we need to discern the will of the people, count away!

What meep said. The worst ... (Below threshold)

What meep said. The worst problem with the SC over the last 4 decades has been the shift to political action by legislating from the bench. You don't want politicians there, you want someone who will understand and respect the Constitution and the SC's role of keeping the other branches in their lanes per the Constitution.
That might be a judge, or it might not, if you think ouside the box.

Any Senator touted by other... (Below threshold)

Any Senator touted by other Senators is by definition suspect.

That was my first thought t... (Below threshold)

That was my first thought too (the advantage in the senate thing) but then I realized a party would gladly give up a seat in the senate (which can be won again in a couple years) for a seat on the supreme court.

Perhaps they're looking for... (Below threshold)

Perhaps they're looking for a Senator with a hard right voting record on abortion so they can make this whole thing a nationwide referendum on banning abortion, force the Reps in the Senate to go nuclear, and hope it results in a coast-to-coast housecleaning.

Desperate, sure. Plausible? Perhaps.

The entire nomination/confi... (Below threshold)

The entire nomination/confirmation process is going to be political enough without nominating a senator. How long before Supreme Court Justices are referred to the same way political office-holders are....Justice Thomas (R) , Justice Souter (D), etc. That's a scary thought.

So to follow that logic, Ju... (Below threshold)

So to follow that logic, Justice Kennedy (RINO), Justice O'Connor (RINO)...






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