Blogger Conference Call With Sen. Kennedy Re: O'Connor Retirement

Bump and Update: This just in from Senator Kennedy's office:

I also wanted to do a follow-up on Jeralyn's question regarding [Judge Edward] Prado - the Senator mis-spoke when he said he opposed Prado, specifically on civil rights. Senator Kennedy does not have a negative opinion of Prado. His statement on opposing Prado, specifically on civil rights, was a mis-statement.

See below for context.

Original Post:

We had a blogger conference call with Senator Edward Kennedy today. After commending Justice O'Connor for her service, the key points he made were these:

  • The president must consult with the Senate. The Senate's advice function "must not be given short shrift." If the president abuses his power and nominates someone who will threaten constitutional rights and freedoms, the Democrats will fight.
  • President Bush should choose a consensus candidate, one who is in the mainstream, has high standards and can bring our country together. The replacement candidate must be on with high regard for our freedom and constutional rights.
  • Conservative groups have put up $18 million in anticipation of nominee.
  • The Court ought to be reflective of society as a whole. We're entitled to have our judges reflect the diversity that is the strength of our nation.

The question and answer period: I'll let the other bloggers on the call who asked questions describe their questions and answers. (Atrios has his thoughts here.) Here were mine:

  • I asked whether 5th Circuit Judge Edward Prado would be an acceptable consensus candidate. He said probably not because of his record on civil rights. I mentioned that he had a strong record of opposing mandatory minimum sentences and Sen. Kennedy said he knew that, because he opposes mandatory minimums as well, but on other issues he did not think Judge Prado would be acceptable. (I'm wondering if Sen. Kennedy didn't get Judge Prado confused with someone else.)
  • I asked whether he thought that the nominee should have prior judicial experience. He said we've had justices before that haven’t been judges, but the individual would have to be "steeped in awareness of what Constitution is all about."

Other bloggers on the call (if there are a few I'm missing, I apologize, I'll try to update later): John from Crooks and Liars; Dave from Seeing the Forest; Duncan at Atrios; Bob Brigham from Swing State Project; Stirling Newberry from BOP News; Mark at Dembloggers; Pamela at Light Up the Darkness;

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    Why are you crashing a "bloggers" call, TL...you sure you aren't dead?

    Kennedy can make all the points he wants to; it doesn't mean Shrub has to listen to them. And if history will serve us correctly he won't waste any time selecting the most extreme appointee he can find. They are blocked then the Dem's are cast as obstructionists(and the corporate media will follow this meme) or the appointee takes O'Connors position. Either way win/win.

    This is a short term fight, the question is the long term.

    Re: Blogger Conference Call With Sen. Kennedy Re: (none / 0) (#4)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:00:46 PM EST
    The long term will mean we are living in a fundie regime, much like the one we toppled in Afghanistan. You know, theocratic gov't, rolling back women's rights, aggresive military actions, zero tolerance for behaviour deemed deviate by the gov't... also, CEO's will be exempt from incarceration, the EPA will cease to exist even as a lame duck it is currently. Among about a million other conservative activism points.