Thursday, September 22, 2005

Top Democrat Gets the Message

Harry Reid, the leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate has now come out against the nomination of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court. Now Mr. Reid is from a conservative state, and is himself opposed to abortion. Judge Roberts has made clear that there is no place on the Supreme Court for ideologues. You would think that a guy like Mr. Reid would like to make his constituents happy by supporting a nominee who reflects the views of Nevada and, at least in part, Mr Reid himself. But no, he has been given other orders.

Top Democrat Says He'll Vote No on Roberts
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Tuesday that he would oppose the confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, surprising both the White House and fellow Democrats still conflicted about how to vote.

In becoming the first Democrat to declare formally how he intended to vote, Mr. Reid may have made it more difficult for fellow Democrats to support Judge Roberts. Many Senate observers expected Mr. Reid, who comes from a Republican-leaning state and is opposed to abortion, to support Judge Roberts.

And the Democratic leader himself said Tuesday that he had earlier given the White House a list of nominees who would be objectionable and that Judge Roberts was not on it.

In announcing his decision in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, Mr. Reid questioned Judge Roberts' commitment to civil rights and said he was "very swayed" by the civil rights and women's rights leaders who testified Thursday in opposition to the nomination - and with whom Mr. Reid met privately that same day. Liberal advocacy groups, who raise millions of dollars to support Democratic candidates and who have been putting intense pressure on Democrats to oppose the nomination, were elated.
One centrist Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, said Tuesday that he had "not seen anything that would cause me to vote against" confirmation of Judge Roberts to be the nation's 17th chief justice.

Last Thursday, as Mr. Reid was weighing his decision, representatives of about 40 advocacy groups met with him in the Capitol; the reason, they said, was to underscore the threat they believe Judge Roberts poses to Democrats' core causes, racial and gender equality. Hovering in the background was a political argument, that if Democrats vote in favor of Judge Roberts, they will be held liable by voters for the decisions he makes on the court.

"He got the message loud and clear, didn't he?" Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said of Mr. Reid on Tuesday.
Yes, he did. If a nominee who is as nonideolgical as Judge Roberts cannot get Democrat Party support, why would the President think that any nominee of his could? Of course he would not think so, and would have no reason to consider Democrat Party opinion in his next nominee.

The not-so-loyal opposition Party wants to influence the President in his choices of nominees to the Supreme Court. But if Mr. Bush has to count on Democratic Party opposition to any choice that he may make, why should he consider them at all?

Mr. Reid should be careful.

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