- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Roberts and Souter

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader in the Senate, in a recent interview more than once compared Supreme Court nominee Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to Justice David H. Souter,Elsa Walshwrites in the New Yorker.

Justice Souter was appointed by the first President Bush, in 1990, “and today is widely detested by conservatives because he frequently sides with the more liberal justices,” the writer observed.

“Souter and Reid are friendly. ‘He’s my favorite man on the court,’ Reid said. ‘I think he’s such a wonderful man, and he believes in precedent. That’s all he’s doing. He’s just following the law.’ Reid smiled, and continued, ‘If somebody is a real lawyer and not a Clarence Thomas or Edith Jones, who is there not to be a judge, but to be a legislator, it gives us some hope, and so, if he is approved, I would hope he would turn out like Souter or somebody like that.’”

Mr. Reid, the writer said, “believes that Bush chose Roberts in a moment of political weakness. Two months earlier, the Democrats had been successful in beating back the so-called ‘nuclear option’ — Sen. Trent Lott’s infelicitous name for the Republican attempt to change long-standing Senate rules on the filibuster. …

“‘I don’t want to stick my finger in his eye, at this stage,’ Reid said, speaking of Bush. “I’m trying, in a nice way, to say I think everyone’s experience here with the nuclear option has made everyone, including the president, more cautious about judges, because, as it turned out, we spent a third of the Senate’s time so far this year basically on it.’”

Arnold’s script

“If California politics right now were one of the action movies that Arnold Schwarzenegger used to make, we would be at the scene where the hero is in a house surrounded on all sides by his adversaries,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“The governor’s ambitious reform agenda is in peril with three months to go before a November special election, and he’s taking hits from all sides. Now, Mr. Schwarzenegger has to decide what direction his political script will take,” Mr. Fund wrote.

“Some of the governor’s advisers are suggesting he seek a negotiated settlement with his Democratic opponents and cancel the election. As one political reformer in California told The Washington Post: ‘We’re preparing for war, but we’re praying for peace.’

“That peace could come in the form of a back-room deal that would undercut the governor’s image as someone who stands up to special interests and in its place foster a belief that the governor is weak. It would also leave the opposition with a $80 million war chest intact and ready to use against Republicans. …

Vilsack’s trip

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is planning a trip to New Hampshire during the Labor Day weekend, a move that furthers speculation that he will run for president in 2008, the Des Moines Register reports.

Mr. Vilsack will headline a New Hampshire Democratic Party fundraiser Sept. 4, reporter Tim Higgins wrote. New Hampshire holds the first-in-the-nation primary, just days after Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Mr. Vilsack, who says he won’t run for a third term as Iowa governor, has been taking more and more steps seen as signaling a possible 2008 presidential bid. Last week, he became chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a job held by Bill Clinton before his successful bid for the White House.

Another Goldwater

A nephew of Barry Goldwater, the conservative U.S. senator who was the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, says he is running for governor of Arizona.

Don Goldwater on Friday confirmed his candidacy to seek the nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, but he declined to elaborate in advance of press conferences planned for today, the Associated Press reports.

The 50-year-old Mr. Goldwater is a Republican Party activist and a former board member of the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix think tank with libertarian leanings. Barry Goldwater, who died in 1998, helped found the modern Republican Party in Arizona.

Bush interview

President Bush reiterated his call for allowing more immigrants into the U.S., saying in an interview yesterday with reporters from several Texas newspapers that such a guest-worker program would make policing the porous U.S.-Mexico border easier.

“I believe and have made the case that a good guest-worker program is part of border security,” Mr. Bush said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “In other words, if there was a legal way for people to come here to do a certain job for which an American cannot be found to do the job, it would take pressure off the border.”

On other subjects, Mr. Bush said he did not ask Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. about his views on the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that declared abortion a constitutional right, saying, “There is no litmus test for my nominee.” The president also refused to give his opinion on Roe beyond saying that he is pro-life.

Mr. Bush also gave chief political aide Karl Rove what the American-Statesman called “a ringing endorsement.”

“Karl’s got my complete confidence. He’s a valuable member of my team,” Mr. Bush said, adding that he knows only what he reads in newspapers about Mr. Rove’s role in revealing the name of a CIA employee because a special prosecutor’s gag order has hampered internal White House fact-finding.

Pataki’s veto

New York Gov. George E. Pataki will veto legislation that would allow women to buy the “morning-after” pill without a prescription, a decision denounced by pro-choice advocates as “sheer political expediency” to build conservative support for a 2008 presidential run.

Mr. Pataki disclosed his plans Sunday night through spokesman Kevin Quinn, the Associated Press reports.

“Consistent with his record on women’s reproductive issues, the governor plans to veto the legislation, primarily because it provides no protection whatsoever for minors,” Mr. Quinn said. “If this and other flaws in the bill are addressed, and a responsible version of the bill is advanced, the governor would support it.”

Similar legislation was vetoed last week by fellow Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, another potential presidential candidate.

Surprising herself

“NPR’s Nina Totenberg, who has tagged Supreme Court nominee John Roberts as ‘very conservative,’ ‘very, very conservative’ and ‘very, very, very conservative,’ as well as ‘a really conservative guy,’ ‘a hard-line conservative’ and ‘a clear conservative,’ to say nothing of being ‘a conservative Catholic,’ on ‘Inside Washington’ over the weekend relayed that after she ‘spent five hours reviewing all of his documents from when he worked in the Justice Department,’ she ‘was actually quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was,’” the Media Research Center reports.

“Apparently, she didn’t listen to herself,” the MRC’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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