Monday, June 27, 2005Today is the last day of the Supreme Court's 2004-05 session, and it may also be the first day of the rest of our lives. It is quite possible that one of the Supreme Court Justices will resign in the next couple of days. If that happens, we will all be tossed into a crapstorm the likes of which we haven't seen since the 2000 election fiasco.
No matter who resigns (although it would less intense were it Rehnquist), there is going to be a first-class political battle over the next Supreme Court Judge. Bush, if he is smart, will appoint a young, archconservative Latino. That way he can force liberals to either swallow another Clarence Thomas or risk alienating a swing constituency. I can hear it now: " Democrats are racist, anti-Hispanic bigots." Under this sort of pressure, enough Democrats in the Senate will then defect to prevent a filibuster, and we will have 30 years of a lunatic on the Court. Ugh.
So what can we do to avoid this clever (but telegraphed) play by the Theocons? I think we should do something unexpected: let'snominate our own judge to the Supreme Court . Let's try to put the "advise" back in "advise and consent. "We should pick a moderately conservative judge in his late fifties with impeccable judicial credentials. Hell, let's come up with a whole list of judges. And a few of them will just happen to be from demographics we like - women, blacks, latinos, etc.
What this does is give us a nice contrast to whatever wingnut Bush is going to nominate. We can say: "Look, we don't expect the President to select a liberal. We just want a sober, experienced judge who believes in restraint and has the right kind of temperment. Take these excellent judges for example..." This maneuver not only eliminates the whole "Democrats are just obstructionists" theme, but it provides cover for Democrats wanting to oppose a radical judge who happens to be a minority. It present us as agents of compromise, and as people who are interested in restoring the prerogratives of the Senate. This last point is important because it sets up any new debate over the "nuclear option."
Will any of the people we name be put on the Court? Of course not. But it just might stop Bush from appointing any outright psychotics.