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Confirmation Fight:

Reading the tea leaves, it seems clear that there will be a brutal confirmation battle regardless of who is nominated. At this point, a confirmation battle will be supply-side driven--the interest groups have the money already, and they are going to spend it one way or the other. And then try to raise some more. And the politicians are going to try to raise money by pandering to these same players. No one is going to roll over on either side just because a particular nominee is thought to be "moderate" rather than "conservative".

The credentials or qualifications of the particular nominee under consideration will be largely beside the point.

So, the same nasty fight is going to occur regardless of who is nominated, and be just as nasty and expensive, regardless of who is nominated and the particular perception of whether he or she is moderate or conservative. So, it seems to me, the Bush Administration would be smart to simply nominate the best person that they want, and not be tricked into thinking that they can somehow avoid a nasty confirmation battle by nominating someone with a more "moderate" perception.

So if there is going to be a fight (which there undoubtedly will be), they may as well at least make it someone worth fighting for.

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Confirmation Fight, Part II:

From today's Washington Post:

A planning document for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans says the nominee will be counseled to avoid disclosing "personal political views or legal thinking on any issue" in an effort to put a focus on qualifications rather than specific issues, including same-sex marriage and the government's treatment of suspected terrorists.

Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate. But Senate Democratic aides said they will focus for now on bipartisan consultation and not publicly prejudge the nominee.

Michael Barone on the Confirmation Fight:

As I noted the other day, a fight over any Supreme Court nominee is inevitable because the interest groups already have the money and it is earmarked for this purpose (what are they going to do, give it back? decide not to run the ads they have planned?).

Perhaps the best analogy is World War I--once the first domino falls (O'Connor's retirement) the alliances on both sides will take on a life of their own.

Michael Barone predicts a fight for similar reasons:

Nor is there any indication that People for the American Way or the Alliance for Justice will not oppose any Bush nominee with every ounce of strength they have.

These groups exist for the purpose of defeating Republican judicial nominees, and their financial supporters -- the big money people and those sending in small amounts in response to direct mail appeals -- would be furious if they meekly accept a Bush appointee as Republican senators accepted Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg when they were nominated by Bill Clinton. Not opposing nominees would be an act of self-destruction for these groups, and Washington lobbying groups are not in the habit of self-destruction.

As for Democratic senators, they have almost unanimously accepted direction from these groups. As independent-minded and candid a senator as Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was seen reading questions to a Bush nominee off the papers supplied by these groups. A major Democratic constituency, the feminist left, expects a fight against any Bush nominee. The Democratic senators surely will not disappoint.

This means that Democrats will filibuster any Bush nominee, while the left groups attempt to tar them with any charge they can dream up.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Confirmation Fight, Part III:
  2. Michael Barone on the Confirmation Fight:
  3. Confirmation Fight, Part II:
  4. Confirmation Fight:
Confirmation Fight, Part III:

"Vacancy Starts a Fundraising Race: Court Nomination Battle Could Rival 2004 Election's Totals":

The effort to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has already become a fundraising magnet for both left and right that promises to rival the 2004 presidential campaign for the rate of cash flow, if not total dollars raised.

The prospect of shifting the Supreme Court to the right has fueled a quest for dollars by conservative and liberal interest groups that will halt only if President Bush does the unexpected and nominates someone acceptable to all sides.

Under the scenario of an ideological battle, participants predict the competition for cash will turn the Senate confirmation into the most expensive nomination fight in the nation's history, certain to break $50 million and, if the nominee is especially controversial, likely to approach $100 million.

Most of the money raised would not be publicly reported. With the exception of such groups as MoveOn PAC, many organizations active in the fight are tax-exempt and have few, if any, disclosure requirements.