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Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon

The AP reports that the White House is close to announcing President Bush's next nominee for Supreme Court Justice. It mentions two names: Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and White House Counsel and former Bush personal lawyer Harriet Miers.

I was on a blogger conference call a few hours ago with Sen. Harry Reid, and he said that he would like to see Ms. Miers get the nod. Sen. Reid also said that if Bush picks any of the 10 nominees the Democrats previously balked at, they will "go to the mat."

This is hard for me because I know both Larry Thompson and Harriet Miers personally - through legal organizations and boards we have been members of together. I know Larry Thompson much better than Harriet Miers, but I like and respect them both. As to Larry, I've previously written:

Mr. Thompson has been mentioned as a possible replacement to retiring Supreme Court justices. That too would be okay in our book. He has been a defense attorney as well as a prosecutor. He understands constitutional rights, due process and fundamental fairness. He's certainly not a liberal, but he's as fair and honest as they get. Which is more than we can say for his boss and the Administration as a whole.

Here's a 2003 Corporate Counsel article describing Larry Thompson's career. I'm sure he knows that if nominated, he will have to explain his participation in the Maher Arar case.

If either is nominated, I will put politics aside. While both are obviously conservative, they are well-qualified and beyond reproach in my book. I'd be content with either.

My views may not hold water with TChris or Last Night in Little Rock however, and they are welcome to disagree.

One last personal note. The Lexis-Nexis Martindale Hubbell Legal Advisory Board last met in December, 2004, right after Ms. Miers was named White House Counsel. She was our first toast of the evening. Our next meeting is in two weeks - if she is nominated to the Supreme Court, we'll probably give her a double toast.

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  • Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#1)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    Good Odds: Williams, Owen Medium Odds: Jones, Estrada Lesser Odds: Garza, Sykes, JRB, Clement But, as the Roberts nomination showed, conventional wisdom isn't, and a surprise may yet be in order.

    Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    I would certainly oppose Thompson for the reason you identify. Likewise, I would oppose Gonzales for his connections to torture. Recognizing the humanity behind the often abstract cases that come before the court is a fundamental requirement for any justice.

    Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    Ras, Why the long odds on Janice Rogers Brown? Do you know something, or is this just guestimation?

    Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#4)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    I don't see Harriet Miers getting picked. It would open up her tenure as Texas Lottery Commissioner to intense scrutiny and the central controversy of that period involves GTECH gaming scandals and Bush's Texas Air National Guard service. Is that what Bush wants in the public eye as the Safavian and Abramoff scandals break? From the Amarillo Globe News 7/29/99: "Littwin's attorneys also have questioned whether Bush allies, in return for the Guard appointment, helped the state's lottery operator, GTECH, fend off efforts by Littwin that might have upset its lucrative contract. An unsigned letter to a U.S. attorney in 1996 that Littwin's lawyers obtained in their case prompted questions about the Guard, The News said. The letter was sent after the three-member Lottery Commission voted unanimously to extend the GTECH contract for five years rather than seek new bids. It alleged that GTECH was allowed to keep its contract in return for Barnes not revealing his help in getting Bush into the Guard, the newspaper said. A former top Bush aide who now lobbies for GTECH brokered the deal between the governor and Barnes, the letter said. Both the former aide and Lottery Commission Chairwoman Harriet Miers denied the accusations." The allegations haven't been proved but making them the central focus of a second SCOTUS nomination seems unlikely.

    Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#5)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    My long shot pick is Cecila Altonaga. She is a Cuban-American district court judge (confirmed 99-0, praised by Leahy on the Senate floor) who was a state court judge in Florida appointed by Jeb Bush (and a Democrat Lawton Chiles initially). She would be a very positive choice and very Rovian as she has great benefit in electoral politics. The wingnuts would scream but they are screaming over Roberts. Putting Florida permanently in the GOP column makes even the worst Republican Presidential candidate a plausible winner. Altonaga is the best possible choice IMHO with real world experience and could be a media star. It would be a smart political choice by Bush to clear the air with a universally embraced candidate and distract from the scandals all around them.

    Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:25 PM EST
    Hopefully, it won't be a white male as nomination of a white male automatically shows bias as there is no way or possibility that another white male could be the most qualified candidate.

    Re: Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:31 PM EST
    "Hopefully, it won't be a white male as nomination of a white male automatically shows bias as there is no way or possibility that another white male could be the most qualified candidate." Janice Brown and Miguel Estrada are not white males and they got the shaft for years. It's not "white males" that's the problem, it that they're conservatives. Therefore, I believe that either one of those two should be nominated. The Republicans have the Senate so there's no chance of getting "Borked". And, if the Dems fillibuster either of these "minorities", then the people will turn on them, not to mention the Republicans will use the "Constitutional option". Bush needs to pick JRB in my opinion.