Thursday, October 27, 2005
Hmmm. I just re-read these two posts I wrote before the Roberts nomination, speculating on what would happen if President Bush nominated Alberto Gonzales to replace O'Connor. Sounds a lot like what we just went through, no?
I also found this ranked rundown of likely nominees to replace O'Connor, again from before the Roberts nomination. This list obviously needs to be updated. Garza, Alito, Luttig all need to be downgraded. As I indicated below, I don't think Bush is in a strong enough position to have a big confirmation fight. He needs a Roberts, not a Thomas. For the same reason, I think we can drop Owen and Brown from the most-likely list. (Estrada should never have been put on that list.)
For other, more obvious reasons, we can drop Gonzales, at least for now.
Michael McConnell has certainly edged up, but not, I think, to the top, for the reasons I note below. I don't think we should dismiss the idea of Senator Cornyn being nominated, for the reasons I note below, though I have no idea if he wants the job. Ted Olson is, I suppose, another possibility, though surely more remote.
I suspect that President Bush will look more closely at male candidates than he did last time, but that he will still prefer to nominate a woman. There are five oft-mentioned female candidates that strike me as plausible: Clement, Consuelo Callahan, Jones, Mahoney and Sykes. (Sykes I only read about today; gotta keep up with this stuff.) Clement would make some of the true believers nervous; they were nervous when her name was floated before the Roberts announcement. Consuelo Callahan will make them even more nervous. Jones would probably be the biggest fight of the five. Mahoney has a paper trail similar to Roberts; it's mostly work for clients, and hence doesn't give Democrats the kind of "gotcha" on social issues that they are looking for. Don't know much else about her. Sykes, as I say, I just read up on, but she sounds very plausible, and she might be less of a fight than Jones given that Feingold and Kohl (her home-state Senators) both praised her nomination to the Federal courts to the skies. NARAL will come after her with guns blazing, though, rest assured.
I don't know if any of these women would be considered sufficiently deferential to the Executive to pass Bush's "War on Terror" test, and he clearly has such a test.
What I know even less about is: how does the business community view these various potential nominees? I think we should assume that Bush and Card talked themselves into Miers in part because they got a positive feeling about her the business community would receive her (and they were correct about that); they figured that her Evangelical Christian faith and loyalty to the President would be enough to satisfy the religious Right, and they had not been informed that only intellectual super-stars were now qualified to serve on the Court. Well, they've learned different on points #2 and #3, but point #1 still stands: the President will want to nominate someone that the business community will be happy with. McConnell will not win raves in that camp. Cornyn I'm sure would be fine. So would Consuelo Callahan. About Clement, Jones, Mahoney and Sykes, I know from nothing. Anyone else?