Thursday, May 11, 2006
This Luttig story strikes me as quite a big deal. I'm highly skeptical that Luttig would quit in this way out of simple pique at having been passed over for the Supreme Court. He's only 51; there's plenty of time for him to be appointed by a future Republican President to replace Stevens, or Ginsburg, or even Scalia or Kennedy. Luttig reportedly had lousy chemistry with President Bush, so he was never going to be appointed by this President, but what about a future President McCain, say? Moreover, I'm skeptical of the notion that he was bored or tired of being a judge. The couple of judges I know have great lives: a position of respect, lots of free time. And they don't have positions nearly as prestigious as Luttig's.
I admit, I hadn't been following the Padilla story that carefully, but the account in the Wall Street Journal is pretty persuasive that the Bush Administration undermined both the law and the position of Luttig personally with their shenanigans. And I'm not at all surprised by that. Add Luttig to the list of serious conservatives feeling deeply betrayed by the Bush Administration's overriding emphasis on politics and personal loyalty above all.
All that said, I wonder why everyone is assuming Luttig is now disqualifying himself for a future Supreme Court appointment. Who's to say that you can't return from the private sector to the public? The Executive branch does it all the time.