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Tuesday, February 07, 2006 

Justice Guarantees

While reading some comments on Confirm Them, I was surprised to read one that said that Senator George Allen had said that he would appoint Judge Michael Luttig and Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court if he was president. I've been looking for confirmation of that statement, and so far the closest I've found is this...
MATTHEWS: What'‘s it about the Supreme Court? What's in the water that turns these conservatives into liberals?

ALLEN: I don'‘t know what it is in Washington, but it does happen. It's pointed out whether it is Souter, whether it's Kennedy, whether-—there are others. I, as governor would appoint people as judges-—this was for terms.

This goes back to Hamilton beating Jefferson on the idea of judges being appointed for life rather than terms. I have recommended to the president, J. Harvie Wilkison, Michael Luttig and Karen Williams from the Fourth Circuit, as well as I think, Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen would be fine as well.
It's not exactly what the commenter said, but it's close. It's a list. I think it's notable since Senator Allen is probably going to run for president in 2008. He seems to have a lot of support in the party too. He's obviously a little biased towards the 4th Circuit since he's from Virginia, but it is considered to be one of the most conservative courts in the country.

I guess what I've been wondering is this... is this smart? This isn't as cryptic as President Bush and his statement about appointing Justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas (although I think that statement might be hearsay). But this also doesn't go as far as President Reagan promising in the campaign to appoint the first woman to the Court. That really boxed him in when Justice Stewart retired. He had to go looking all the way to the Arizona State Supreme Court to find Sandra Day O'Connor.

Allen is probably pretty safe with this list. The trio from the 4th Circuit are seasoned, respected judges with long, conservative careers. Judge Brown and Judge Owen were two of the judges who got confirmed in the Gang of 14 deal, so I'm not sure if he mentioned them in reference to that or if it has to do with their popularity with the base or if he honestly likes them or if this is a run on sentence.

It will be interesting to see if other candidates follow suit and make their own pledge on this issue. Will there be more Scalia and Thomas quotes, like the one attributed to President Bush? Will there be candidates who pledge to nominate judges is the mold of Roberts and Alito? Or will they take the route that Allen took and rattle off a list of names?

This matters to me because it determines my vote. Until the courts have less of a role in deciding issues of public policy (which will probably be never), I'm going to vote based on judges.

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