The Wine Bet looks even better now:
Bush Poised to Nominate Dozens For Judgeships, GOP Insiders Say
The White House is preparing to send a raft of new judicial nominations to the Senate in the next few weeks, according to Republican strategists inside and outside the administration — a move that could challenge the durability of last week’s bipartisan filibuster deal and reignite the political warfare it was intended to halt.
The Bush administration has been vetting candidates for 30 more federal district and appeals court vacancies that have been left open for months while the Senate battled over previous nominations stalled by Democrats. Now that Democrats have agreed not to filibuster any new candidates except in “extraordinary circumstances,” Republicans are eager to test the proposition.
Great and test the resolve of the Gang of 7.
Will they support their President and Party?
Republicans feel this is a good moment to move forward with judicial nominations,” said Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a group formed by C. Boyden Gray, who was White House counsel under President Bush’s father, to support the current president’s judicial appointments. “It’s time to move on and also to get past the Clinton period” when Democrats salted the federal judiciary with more liberal appointments.
Rushton said he expects “a large swath” of nominations in the next few weeks unless Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist or another Supreme Court justice decides to step down at the end of the term later this month, an event that would throw current plans out the window. Administration and congressional officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made, said they, too, expect a flurry of lower-court nominations within weeks. “There’s about 20 waiting in the wings,” a Senate Republican official said.
Flap handicaps two Supreme Court vacancies at the end of the term (end of June), so this flurry of nominations may be postponed.
Democrats called on Bush to abide by the Senate agreement’s provision, urging him “to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.”
“We do consult,” Bush said at his news conference this week. “Obviously, we consult on district judges and . . . we listen to their opinions on appellate judges — ‘their’ opinions being the opinions from the home state senators, as well as others.”
Yet Bush found the deal sufficiently hazy that he could not predict its effect. “Whether that agreement means that a [nominee] is going to get an up-or-down vote, I guess it was vague enough for people to interpret the agreement the way they want to interpret it,” he said. “I’ll put a best face on it, and that is that since they’re moving forward with Judge Owen, for example, and others, that ‘extraordinary circumstances’ means just that — really extraordinary.”
He paused. “I don’t know what that means,” he said to laughter. “I guess we’re about to find out when it comes to other appellate judges.”
And find out we will.
Paul, the Firstone winery is located in the Santa Ynez Valley, California