Birdnow does Sun Tzu -- and Roberts
Check out Tim Birdnow's Birdblog for some fascinating thoughts on the possible implications of the nomination of John Roberts. Tim's thinking dovetails with a lot of my own thoughts, and not for the first time. Tim's writing and analysis is incisive and first-rate as always.
Before I start, let me say that as far as I know John Roberts is an excellent choice, but no one really knows much about him. That is precisely the point -- he was chosen because he can get Senate confirmation without a bruising battle over filibusters and other shenanigans. However, Bush may only be postponing the inevitable knock-down drag-out fight to such a time when he may be in a weaker position to put forth a stellar candidate.
What galls me is that even though the democrats are not in power -- they are still in charge -- in that the Republicans feel forced to name these stealth candidates about whom nothing is known just to ensure that they get confirmed without a bloodbath. That virtually ensures that we will have no first-class conservative minds on the court with a proven record -- brilliant minds such as Bork, for instance. As wonderful as this John Roberts sounds, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt (because that's all we have to go on), I'm somewhat curious about someone who has lived for 50 years and never been moved by his conscience or his intellect to utter one controversial or unpopular or strong opinion on anything.
He is a blank slate, which seems to be his greatest asset. One thing's for sure -- the democrats have imbued the Supreme Court and the courts in general with such power because it is their last best hope of instituting their agenda. Having lost everywhere at the ballot box they now now put all their hopes on the courts and consequently squeal and scream bloody murder whenever a conservative gets within striking distance of being nominated. In a way -- they are in danger of being hoist with their own petard (which is being blown up by your own bomb, you know -- I always think of those round black bombs with fuses that the terrorists in Mad Magazine used to cart around).
"One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious"~~Sun Tzu, The Art of War
. . .I think the time has come for a showdown over judicial nominations, and I believe that the President has put off for tomorrow what he should have done today. I suspect we will all pay dearly for that. To my first point regarding the coronation of a doctrinally unclear Justice, I merely need point to Sandra Day O`Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter. These Three Kings of Disorient are usually unable to find the map, much less locate where on said map they reside. We never can be sure which way these Justices will rule on any given case, and we have been treated to a treasure-trove of personal views and myopic thinking masquerading as Judicial Opinion. Bear in mind that these three Justices were supposed to be conservatives (or at least, not liberal), and they were appointed by Republican Presidents.
. . .If Roberts confirmation hearing fails to erupt into a war, the Democrats will be in a decent position to attack Bush`s next nominee with all vigor; the war will have been postponed from 2005 to `06 or even `07, and the President may not be able to win at that point. The Democrats will be able to fire all of their guns, and they will be able to defend this action by claiming to have given Roberts a pass. Time is not on the President`s side. When Rehnquist retires (or passes away) the President will have a vacancy on the Court, as well as the nomination of a new Chief Justice. The stakes will be much higher.
. . .The time to fight is now, not two years from now. President Bush has pushed this battle off into the future, and he can ill-afford it. As Sun Tzu pointed out, "One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious".