ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg haws launched her new blog, "Legalities," just in time to promote her new book on the Supreme Court. (LvHB) Maybe she'll blog about the precise date Justice Stevens plans to retire.
Jan Crawford Greenburg has an article in the Washington Post/s Outlook section suggesting that the appointment of conservative judges has been one of the few (if not the only) successful major initiative of the Bush Administration. Near the end of the article, which appears to be based upon her new book, she has an interesting account of the Alito nomiation:
Alito was waiting in the wings when Miers's nomination fell apart. Unlike Reagan, who appointed the more liberal Kennedy to the court in 1987 after his nominations of Robert H. Bork and Douglas H. Ginsburg went down in flames, Bush had no problem seeking another solid conservative. With a Republican majority in the Senate, he did not compromise. Alito was considered a solid conservative, though not combative like others, and he had hired liberal law clerks. Bush hoped that Alito, like Roberts, would prove effective in building coalitions.
The call from the White House surprised Alito. Living in New Jersey, he had been insulated from the negative Washington buzz over Miers. He had absorbed the disappointment about being passed over and had come to terms with remaining a federal appellate judge. Alito didn't know that he had been Miers's choice for the O'Connor vacancy after Roberts got the nod for the top spot. She liked his quiet confidence; he didn't seem to be pushing too hard for the job. When Alito was nominated just four days after Miers dropped out, she greeted him warmly in the White House, moments before Bush introduced him as his next nominee.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Jan Crawford Greenburg has a subscribers-only op-ed aobut Justice Clarence Thomas adapted from her new book. She argues that, from the beginning, Justice Thomas has been far more independent and influential than many realize. Here are the opening grafs:
Clarence Thomas has borne some of the most vitriolic personal attacks in Supreme Court history. But the persistent stereotypes about his views on the law and subordinate role on the court are equally offensive — and demonstrably false. An extensive documentary record shows that Justice Thomas has been a significant force in shaping the direction and decisions of the court for the past 15 years.
That's not the standard storyline. Immediately upon his arrival at the court, Justice Thomas was savaged by court-watchers as Antonin Scalia's dutiful apprentice, blindly following his mentor's lead. It's a grossly inaccurate portrayal, imbued with politically incorrect innuendo, as documents and notes from Justice Thomas's very first days on the court conclusively show. Far from being a Scalia lackey, the rookie jurist made clear to the other justices that he was willing to be the solo dissenter, sending a strong signal that he would not moderate his opinions for the sake of comity. By his second week on the bench, he was staking out bold positions in the private conferences where justices vote on cases. If either justice changed his mind to side with the other that year, it was Justice Scalia joining Justice Thomas, not the other way around.