« Home | If You're Bored » | Keep the Rumors Coming » | Yet Another Post about Beer » | I'm Not the Only One » | The Legacy of the Rehnquist Court » | Alito Ceremony » | Beer Review: Hacker-Pschorr Munich Helles Lager » | Beer Review: Bell's Winter White Ale » | Political Perspectives from a Law Student » | Administration Calls for Court to Reexamine PBA » 

Monday, February 20, 2006 

It's All About Specter

I can't go a week without talking about judicial nominations, so I figured that I would start the week off with one of those posts. After the Roberts and Alito confirmations, I am convinced that there is one man in America that determines whether or not a nominee survives the process and makes it to the Court. That man is Senator Arlen Specter, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specter matters for a few reasons. First, he's the chairman so he holds a lot of sway. Second, he's a fairly moderate Republican. He's openly pro-choice and would not vote for a nominee who (in Specter's opinion) would vote to overturn Roe. Third, there was that little matter of his last Senate race. Specter had a conservative Republican, Pat Toomey, challenge him in the primary. While much of the conservative political base was behind Toomey, President Bush backed Specter's re-election. Without the president's support, it's likely that Specter would be sitting at home right now.

Why does all of this matter? I think that it matters because a closer rapport has developed between Specter and the White House, mostly concerning judges. Specter has led the charge for both Roberts and Alito being confirmed. Many people understand that in regards to Roberts but not Alito. How could pro-choice Specter sign on so readily to support a judge who went the other way in Casey? Maybe it's because Specter recommended him to the White House.

I have it on good authority that a list was sent from Specter's office to the White House. This list contained three names: Samuel Alito, Karen Williams, and J. Harvie Wilkinson, in that order. If these are Specter's recommendations, then I firmly believe that both Williams and Wilkinson (both of the 4th Circuit) could be confirmed to the Court in the event of another vacancy.

This also makes my twice erroneous pick of Williams as the nominee look a little less foolish. I still think that she's the number one female contender. She's got massive support among the 4th Circuit senators, about 14 years on the federal appeals court, and a judicial record that looks a lot like Justice Rehnquist circa the 1970's. In the event of another vacancy, I'm picking her again as the likely nominee. Hell, I have to be right about it eventually.

Edit Comment

About me

  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
  • E-mail Me
My profile