Monday, July 11, 2005

Is Gonzales Spanish for "Souter" on Supreme Court?

Something nice for a good buddy by Wesley Pruden atWashington Times,:
The buzz is confusing. George W. said not long ago that he wants to find Supreme Court nominees like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, but some of his most faithful friends say that he's talking like that was then, and this is now. The faithful conservatives are always suspicious that the Republican biggies, who prize moderation except in the heat of an election campaign, is about to dump them. And it's true that 'respectable' Republicans, so called, invariably sniff the air when the conservatives enter the room, as if they expect to be overwhelmed by bad breath or body odor. Most of the talk about Mr. Gonzales' qualifications is that (a) he's the president's good buddy, (b) he's an identifiable Hispanic, the current object of White House affection all sublime, and (c) maybe most important, Harry Reid and the Democrats think he might be 'moderate' enough to suit them. They think he has the potential to 'grow' up to be David Souter. They're terrified the president will choose a fully grown nominee, and they're willing to take somebody they despise to avoid getting someone they really hate.

But what is a 'moderate' judge? Mr. Justice Scalia, the man the president described as his model justice, offered his opinion earlier this year in a speech to the Woodrow Wilson Center. 'What is a moderate interpretation of the text?' he asked. 'Halfway between what it really means and what you'd like it to mean? There is no such thing as a moderate interpretation of the text. Would you ask a lawyer, 'Draw me a moderate contract'?

'The only way the word has any meaning is if you are looking for someone to write a law, to write a constitution, rather than to interpret one. I think the very terminology suggests that's where we have arrived: at the point of selecting people to write a constitution, rather than people to give us the fair meaning of one that has been democratically adopted ...

"When we are in that mode, you realize, we have rendered the Constitution useless, because the Constitution will mean what the majority wants it to mean."

Majorities change, of course, but the Democrats don't want to hear that, and echo the president's description of fair criticism of Mr. Gonzales as "attacks." But none of the criticism smacks of the personal. The "attacks" have actually been "civil" and "dignified." The president's loyalty to his friend is nevertheless exemplary, and doing something nice for a friend is, well, nice. But it's hardly necessary to nominate a pal to the Supreme Court to demonstrate loyalty and affection. He could just send flowers and a box of candy.

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