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Edith Clement Open Thread:
Lots of people seem convinced that President Bush will accounce the nomination of Edith Clement tonight to replace Justice O'Connor. I have started looking into Clement's record, but for now I thought I would just open a thread for comments. Your thoughts?

  UPDATE: RedState.Org is reporting that we may have the wrong Edith — it may be Edith Jones, not Edith Clement. (Those Fifth Circuit Ediths are very hard to tell apart, so the confusion is understandable.) So far no one is saying that the nominee will be Edith Piaf, but then we still have a few hours before the President's annoucement.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: ABCNews says it's not Clement.
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
I can't get past the overwhelming feeling that Bush is going to screw us.
7.19.2005 4:24pm
MJ (mail):
I don't know a lot about her, but I trust the President on judges. He has given us nothing but conservative judges, and thus no reason to be worried.

Clement is a solid conservative judge on a very conservative Circuit Court. What I have read of her decisions suggests that this is a good pick.
7.19.2005 4:29pm
Dustin (mail) (www):
The theory that the White House would float a stalking horse in advance of a more contentious nominee later on for Stevens is looking more likely. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats take the bait.
7.19.2005 4:29pm
MOD (mail):
I have no idea who this woman is. She has no law review publications (that I could locate) and her judicial opinions over the last year shed no significant light. It strikes me that there is very little paper to trace (or maybe her decisions over the last decade are more illuminating).

I wonder if anybody knew who Justice O'Connor was or what she was about before she was nominated. I bet they didn't, and it's probably true for many other S. Ct. nominees. Sure, there have been some figures who were well-known before their nomination (e.g., Holmes, Cardozo, Jackson, Scalia), but isn't it true that most nominees are question marks?
7.19.2005 4:33pm
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
If it is Clement, what do people think of nominating someone whose educational achievements are less prestigious than those of the typical nominee? There's something to be said for the breaking of near-monopoly a handful of elite law schools have on the court. However, there's also a risk that such a nominee might feel pressured to submit to her "intellectual betters," like Blackmun, or that she won't or can't develop a sophisticated jurisprudence of her own, like Burger?

Come on, somebody had to say it.
7.19.2005 4:33pm
ND:
http://www.dkosopedia.com/index.php/Edith_Brown_Clement

Has a quick run down of her record.
7.19.2005 4:36pm
TLSFederalist:
I think the fact that the President is so interested in making sure to replace a "minority" with a "minority" shows that he has no interest in living up to his promise to appoint justices like Scalia or Thomas.

As a Tulane alumni, the prospect of a fellow alum being appointed to the Supreme Court is exciting, but no one knows anything about her, which leaves the fear of another Souter.

O'Connor's retirement is a significant victory for those of us that believe in the constitution, but I fear an unknown justice will make that victory pyrrhic.
7.19.2005 4:36pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
It might be a stroke of briliance. First, any nominee that makes both the far right and left uneasy strikes me as a good thing. Second, politically this puts the ball in the Dems court, or more likely the rope to hang themselves with. If they are wise and conceed the nomination, (truely wise by actually voting yes) the retain their ability to bludgeon a more conservative candidate and in fact gain some credibility that such a candidate is 'extraordinary' considering they already passed this one along. But I think Bush is banking on the pressure groups combined with democratic obsessive compulsive Bush hating disorder to carry the day and make a big stink about this judge. When they lose the fight (and they will lose), Bush will then be free to appoint whoever he wants down the line. So Bush wins small or wins big.
7.19.2005 4:37pm
aslanfan (mail):
They'll make a stink, but not a big stink.
7.19.2005 4:44pm
JRL:
I like that fact that the ACS had already portrayed her as right of Scalia by noon today.

link

Is there a quick list of justices by law school somewhere?
7.19.2005 4:44pm
TLSFederalist:
JRL,

I do not know of a list by law school, but at www.fjc.gov there are bios of every article III federal judge, which always lists education.
7.19.2005 4:47pm
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
Current justices, or all of them? Current justices are easy.

Rehnquist and O'Connor: Stanford
Scalia, Breyer, Kennedy, Souter: Harvard
Thomas: Yale
Ginsberg: Columbia
Stevens: Northwestern
7.19.2005 4:47pm
JRL:
I was thinking historical, and without have to go through the time and effort to read bios.
7.19.2005 4:51pm
42USC1983 (mail):
Here are some good quotes from the Almanac.
http://www.legalunderground.com/2005/07/edith_brown_cle.html
7.19.2005 4:52pm
just me (mail):
Re this comment by TLSFederalist:
"I think the fact that the President is so interested in making sure to replace a "minority" with a "minority" shows that he has no interest in living up to his promise to appoint justices like Scalia or Thomas."

Maybe he never meant justices PHILOSOPHICALLY like Scalia/Thomas. Maybe he meant all along to name "justices who may be darn great intellectually, but are also chosen largely for identity politics." Some folks forgot how big the "first Italian-American" thing was in 1986. Of course, I'm told that race played no part at all in the Thomas pick.
7.19.2005 4:55pm
AK:
TLSFederalist:

I think the fact that the President is so interested in making sure to replace a "minority" with a "minority" shows that he has no interest in living up to his promise to appoint justices like Scalia or Thomas.


Relax. Clarence Thomas was picked by George Bush to fill the "black" seat on the court, and he turned out to be a justice like, uh, Scalia or Thomas.
7.19.2005 4:56pm
TLSFederalist:
All I am saying is that he may be unnaturally limiting the field. And, Scalia and Thomas were pretty well known quantities when nominated.
7.19.2005 4:58pm
Mithras (mail) (www):
Does anyone else think it unfortunate that this is the second Bush to ratify the concept of the "quota chair"? Marshal --> Thomas, and (if it's Clement) O'Conner --> Clement? Can anyone doubt that that was going on in each of these cases?
7.19.2005 5:00pm
Mithras (mail) (www):
(whoops, others have already raised the point, thanks. And I'm a pro-affirmative action liberal, but it still seems like Bush could think outside the box a little more.)
7.19.2005 5:01pm
Steve:
Has Tulane fallen off in recent years? I always thought it was quite well-regarded, particularly in the South. Maybe it's not Texas or Duke, but just because the big East Coast firms are biased towards the Ivy League doesn't mean that Southern schools aren't just as good.
7.19.2005 5:03pm
NOLA:
Judge Clement has a decisive temperament and is a fairly disciplined textualist. (One might read her opinion in Vargas-Duran, to see her at work.) As for her revealed views on the major issues before the Court, she is notable for favoring a tough view of the Commerce Clause.

Nervous Republicans may be comforted that she decorates her office with small statues of elephants.
7.19.2005 5:04pm
spot:
Well it seems that some on the right are a little worried because she isn't "out of the closet" on roe. But pretty much everyone seems to agree she is going to be very strong on federalist issues. If her nomination is going to be palatable to Democrats then it sure seems to me she is an ideal choice from where I sit.
7.19.2005 5:07pm
guest:

just because the big East Coast firms are biased towards the Ivy League doesn't mean that Southern schools aren't just as good


No, but their generally inferior faculties and student bodies do...
7.19.2005 5:09pm
ND:
NOLA said: "Nervous Republicans may be comforted that she decorates her office with small statues of elephants"

Those elephants are likely University of Alabama elephants (the mascot of her Alma Mater). Still, Republicans shouldn't be nervous.
7.19.2005 5:11pm
Larry (mail):
MJ, Which opinions of this judge have you read ? It doesn't seem like you have read any, but I might be wrong.
7.19.2005 5:13pm
Apu (mail):
NOLA's suggestion of reading Vargas-Duran is a good one; she wrote for the en banc court there in favor of a criminal defendant but in a very conservative way -- by taking a strict view of the actual words used in the sentencing guidelines and in the state court statute under discussion. This was in contrast to the dissent of Judge Garza (another frequently-mentioned SCOTUS nominee). Her opinion also foreshadows the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Leocal.
7.19.2005 5:22pm
Evan Schaeffer (mail) (www):
Lawyers who appeared before Edith Brown Clement when she was a district judge viewed her as very conservative. Their anonymous comments are collected in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary; I collected them here.
7.19.2005 5:23pm
MJ (mail):
Larry,

Both her joint dissents in GDF Realty and Mcfarland and then just generally some of the descriptions of her opinions on blogs like sctnomination.

I'm no expert on her jurisprudence, but she sounds like a pretty strong federalist and textualist.
7.19.2005 5:24pm
pct:
I believe Orin is also incorrect. It won't be Edith Piaf, but Edith Wharton.

A number of commentors have expressed discomfort with a "woman's seat" on the Court (I can't bring myself to call women a minority), but there was a Jewish seat that went from Brandeis to Fortas. Reserved seats are hardly a Bushian innovation.
7.19.2005 5:38pm
NOLA:
As for her demeanor on the bench, she speaks with moderate frequency, with good, pre-prepared lines of questions. (Some judges tend to shoot from the hip.)

At oral argument, she is not as ferocious a predator of litigants as fellow Fifth Circuit Judge Jones--nobody is--but when she pleases, she can cut apart a bad argument with only a few questions.

She may not, as has been noted, be an Ivy Leaguer, but she is plentifully intelligent.
7.19.2005 5:39pm
Houston Lawyer:
I believe everyone should take a deep breath and relax. Remember, at this time on election day it was clear to everyone who saw the exit polls that Kerry was going to win. I just wish that Bush had LBJ's nerve to intentionally leak the wrong name.
7.19.2005 5:43pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Is Edith Brown Clement the same person as Edith Joy Clement?

If so, did she change her middle name to her maiden name, or is Joy her nickname?
7.19.2005 5:52pm
LarryNonJuan (mail):
PCT, I have it on good authority that it's Edith Bunker. Bush wanted someone who could mediate the Archie-Meathead dynamic between Scalia and Kennedy.
7.19.2005 5:54pm
Nobody (mail):
If Bush was only willing to consider women to fill the empty seat, does that give me a civil rights claim against him? I (a man, with a JD, who has reached the constitutionally prescribed age) am constitutionally qualified for the position. Haven't I suffered harm due to Bush's refusal to consider me based on my gender? I thought quotas were bad.

Guess not...
7.19.2005 5:56pm
Darcyman (mail):
Just out of curiosity (I'm not a lawyer), but what were people saying during Souter's nomination/confirmation process? Were there serious misgivings from the right, or were people trying to find the good, like on this board?

I have to say, I have an uneasy feeling about Clement.
7.19.2005 5:57pm
TLSFederalist:
I believe. her name is Edith Brown Clement, and her nickname is Joy

Also, there are no constitutional requirements, so half of you out there might have civil rights claims
7.19.2005 6:08pm
Elitist McSnob:
Dear Steve,

Has Tulane fallen off in recent years? I always thought it was quite well-regarded, particularly in the South. Maybe it's not Texas or Duke, but just because the big East Coast firms are biased towards the Ivy League doesn't mean that Southern schools aren't just as good.
Yes it does.

Love,
Elitist McSnob
7.19.2005 6:27pm
aces:
I wish it were Edith Bunker, just to hear Scalia say, "Aw geez, willya STIFLE it?"
7.19.2005 6:49pm
Beau Sterling (mail):
Re Second Amendment:

Both Edith Clement and Edith Jones passed on the opportunity in US v. Herrera, 313 F.3d 882 (5th Cir. 2002), to join circuit judges DeMoss and Smith in taking a strong Second Amendment position consistent with the court's earlier decision in Emerson. Instead, they joined the other members of the en banc panel who ducked the issue pretty much on procedural grounds.

I am not sure what, if anything, to draw from this, but I note it for the sake of discussion.
7.19.2005 7:34pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I would hope Jones isn't confirmable, but god only knows these days.

Even worse: Barksdale! (Carriage horses whinny.)
7.19.2005 8:42pm
mw:
The nominee will be John Roberts.
7.19.2005 8:44pm
CVW (mail):
Wow, a good natured question regarding Tulane law, and law schools in the south generally, has been met with two snarky comments. For my part, I have no doubt that the august reputation of HLS (and other elite northeast law schools - plus Chicago and Stanford) is largely predicated on the quality of its faculty and students. But it seems fair to simultaneously suggest that there are other excellent schools that do not do so well in placing their students in top clerkships, or later on in top judicial positions, because they are not part of the small network of schools whose alumns dominate the jobs (clerkships) that traditionally lead to ever higher positions within the legal profession. I'd love it if Bush appointed a *capable* jurist with a J.D. from Tulane or UT Austin since it would break up what looks like an iron lock that three or four schools have on the top legal appointments. Anyway, in twenty to thirty years I doubt the same schools will dominate quite to the extent they do today. Economic power is continuing to shift south/southwest, and I'd look for southern schools to continue to rise in national (and international prestige). Maybe the background of the nominee will reflect this continuing trend. Good article here:

http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i23/23a01001.htm
7.19.2005 9:09pm