Will Bush choose more-moderate jurists or do battle with the Senate? (Neil A. Lewis, 11/11/06, The New York Times)
Ronald Klain, a former Democratic chief counsel for the Judiciary Committee and the White House counsel in charge of judicial nominations for President Clinton, said Bush and the Republicans face a decision with important implications.
“The Bush administration has played the game of judicial selection very hard and very far to the right for the past six years,” Klain said. “They have to make a fundamental decision now as to how they want to deal with this. Do they move to the center or stay true to the right?”
A senior Democratic strategist in the Senate said his party was eager to see which direction Bush chose on judicial nominations.
“Those guys in the White House have governed unilaterally for six years,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“Does he pivot and become like he was as Texas governor and work with both sides of the aisle,” the official said, “or does he send up these guys again and set us up for hard votes and call the Democrats obstructionist?”
The administration has had a no-lose situation in naming staunch conservatives to the bench: The choices either would be confirmed or their defeat would provide a strong campaign issue.
By nominating more black, Hispanic and Asian conservatives to bench slots the President can keep that advantage. In particular, naming them to open Supreme Court slots is a political winner either way.