My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The Specter Spectre

With regards to Arlen Specter as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I suspect that he knows better than to dither with the President's nominees. But even if he doesn't, let's look wide angle at this one.

Will a liberal Republican on the SJC have a better chance of shepherding the President's nominees through committee than a conservative? Probably not--odds are probably about equal. Would a liberal Republican have a better chance of navigating a nominee past the filibuster onto the floor? Perhaps. I think he may be the voice that Chris Mathews would go to, and that voice would be one to get the nominee to the floor. And if the nominee gets to the floor, even were Specter to vote against him or her, the GOP has the votes to get through.

Is this a faith stance? Not really--Specter has supported every Bush nominee so far, and has supported Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist in the past. Does Robert Bork matter? Yes...I suppose. But that was a long time ago, and this may be just the time for a bold move such as this.

I guess the key is this: does Specter remember that this President saved his career against a primary challenge, and, in light of that, would he be more or less likely to block replacements to the bench for Stevens, O'Connor, and Rehnquist? My gut feel for this (since I have no actual knowledge) is that if this President gets to replace these three Justices, you can count on 1 lib 1 mod and 1 cons being turned into 1 mod 1 c-right and 1 cons--a huge net gain.

And, in light of that, is there any reason to fight this fight with Sen. Specter? Not really. There are bigger fights to fight.

But just in case, let's write our Senators and encurage a 10-8 or 10-7 makeup for this committe, rather than the more conventional 9-8.

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