Bob Novak Quoting Hamilton:

Novak writes:

. . . The Founding Fathers put the Senate "advise and consent" clause into the Constitution partly to combat cronyism. In Federalist No. 76, Alexander Hamilton opposed the president's nominees "being in some way or other personally allied to him." . . .

The first sentence is right, but the quote in the second is incomplete in an important way: Hamilton wrote (emphasis added),

[The President] would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him . . . .

Novak may in fact think that Gonzales has no other merit, or that (as his column suggests) Bush hasn't made enough of a substantive case for Gonzales' merits. But it's important to recognize that Hamilton, worldly politician that he was, never suggested that friendship (which often carries with it justifiable trust and respect) was an improper criterion for appointment -- only that it shouldn't be a sufficient criterion.

Buck Turgidson (mail):
Novak should start his columns with a banner ad:

Conservative Opinions for Sale! Ideological support to the highest bidder!

Novak is not conservative--he's just a scoundrel who knows which way his bread is buttered. He has no principled position. His opposition to Gonzales is ad hoc, but quoting out of context is par for the course.
7.7.2005 5:12pm
Hans Bader (mail):
The problem isn't that Gonzales lacks merit, as Novak suggests, although there are certainly better choices than Gonzales. Gonzales is a smart, able man with plenty of legal experience (although only a short tenure as a judge on the Texas Supreme Court).
The problem is that Bush claimed he would appoint conservative judges akin to Scalia or Thomas, and Gonzales is not particularly conservative (actually, he'd probably move the Court slightly to the left). Promises matter in politics; broken promises breed cynicism and make intelligent choices between candidates impossible.
Both personal loyalty and a desire for "diversity" will probably lead Bush to appoint Gonzales, although there are other, even better-qualified judges who would add racial "diversity" just as well (Emilio Garza of the Fifth Circuit) or better preserve gender "diversity" (Edith Jones, Alice Batchelder), or, more importantly, add expertise in fields that the Supreme Court is currently weak on (Edith Jones, given her expertise in business law, to take Todd Zywicki's example).
7.7.2005 5:44pm
Nobody (mail):

As Homer would say, In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic....
7.7.2005 6:00pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Here's my two cents...

Bush has promised to appoint judges who will "strictly interpret" the constitution. Bush knows Gonzales very well and trusts him implicitly. I am willing to give them both the benefit of the doubt and *gasp* ignore whatever I hear about Gonzales personal political beliefs.

It would be nice if the eventual nominee was a reliable political conservative in case (s)he eventually decides (s)he likes the feel of sticking personal beliefs into the law, but I would give Gonzales the benefit of the doubt.

Any thoughts?
7.7.2005 7:19pm