Conservatives Lukewarm on Souter Nomination:
As I noted below, I've been looking through Westlaw for news reports of past Supreme Court nomincations to see what was different or similar about past nominations and current ones. The following story appeared in the Washington Times on July 25, 1990, ten days after President George H.W. Bush nominated David Souter for the Supreme Court:
CONSERVATIVES LUKEWARM ON SOUTER
Conservatives expressed lukewarm support yesterday for Supreme Court nominee David Souter, but most predicted they will be behind him strongly once they know more about him.
"The consensus is that we would have preferred someone else - not what we were given," said Richard Viguerie, chairman of the United Conservatives of America. "But we have to accept what's on the table and move forward."
Mr. Viguerie made his comments at a news conference that featured leaders of five conservative organizations. "We're giving a cautious thumbs-up" to the nomination, he said, adding that the president "still has a seriously damaged relationshp with conservatives."
Peter T. Flaherty, chairman of the Conservative Campaign Fund, said he could not endorse Judge Souter at this time.
"There remain too many unanswered questions about who he is and how this nomination came about," he said. "President Bush needlesly passed over a number of highly qualified candidates for the court whose philosophy is well known. In doing so, he has taken an unacceptable risk . . ."
. . .
But despite the downbeat tone many expressed about Judge Souter's selection,David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, predicted: "Most conservatives will get into the fight and fight for the confirmation of Judge Souter."
Mr. Viguerie agreed. "We're driven by a lot of things. When the NARL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and Molly Yard (president of the National Organization for Women) start trashing this guy, our natural juices start flowing."
Alan Keyes, chairman of Citizens for America, said the Souter confirmation struggle will be a national fight, "not an inside-the-Beltway situation." The White House, he said, "better gear up for the battle."
Liberals are also preparing for combat. The same women's, pro-choice and civil rights organizations that lobbied to defeat the Bork nomination in 1987 vow to do the same thing to Judge Souter if they find out they don't like him. While most are officially taking a wait-and-see attitude, some are already convinced he is their enemy.
"At this point we have to assume he's very anti-choice, since John Sununu, who's anti-choice, thinks he's wonderful and President Bush, who's anti-choice, thinks he's qualified," said Chung Seto, spokeswoman for the National Women's Political Caucus. "It's no longer enough to have no record. We've seen how that works with Anthony Kennedy. We need to know where he stands on women, abortion and civil rights."