- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

Some Republicans are not happy with the veto-sharing deal that the Bush White House cut with Californias two Democratic senators over the screening of federal judicial appointees.
These concerned Republicans are privately predicting that only centrists and liberals will be appointed to the federal bench in California, despite President Bushs claim that his favorite justices on the Supreme Court are its two staunchest conservatives: Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
A Republican House member from California told The Washington Times that there will not be conservative appointees nominated for the federal bench in the state, but that the deal, involving Bush family friend and San Diego lawyer and investment banker Gerald L. Parsky, is the best available under the circumstances.
"Lets recognize that no one will get the ideal candidate, and that means we are not going to get judges like Scalia out of California under the Parsky plan," said Rep. Darrell Issa.
At the same time, he agrees with other conservatives who say that the greatest threat to Mr. Bushs electoral coalition for 2004 is a repeat of liberal appointments to the federal judiciary — such as that of Justice David H. Souter to the high court — which occurred under the presidency of the elder George Bush.
"Getting conservative judges through the Senate is going to be part of defining this president as a real conservative, a compassionate conservative," Mr. Issa said.
Mr. Issa, however, has more confidence in the Parsky plan than some other conservative California Republicans, who fear that Mr. Parsky will appoint "establishment" and liberal Republicans to a judicial screening panel that will then be dominated by Democrats who oppose tort reform and support abortion rights.
"What is Parsky ideologically?" a state Republican official said privately. "He doesnt care about ideology. But I know he is offended by pro-lifers. He told me directly he doesnt want to see the California Republican Party become a party that gives money to pro-life candidates and consultants."
According to the pact fashioned by Mr. Parsky and announced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer this week, a bipartisan Judicial Advisory Committee will be set up with subcommittees in each of the states four federal judicial districts.
Mrs. Feinstein and Mrs. Boxer will appoint three members to each subcommittee, while Mr. Parsky will name the other three. It will take four votes of subcommittee members for any candidate to be forwarded to Mr. Parsky for final approval before sending the nominee to Mr. Bush. The president will then decide which candidate he will submit to the Senate for approval.
Many conservative Republicans fear that the Parsky plan may result in three Democrats and one liberal Republican picking left-leaning judicial candidates, making it very difficult for Mr. Bush to choose conservative nominees.
"Its unprecedented in American history," the state Republican official said. "Since when has a Republican given Democrats an equal voice in approving his judicial nominees?"
Republicans have also been angered by a recent statement from a Feinstein aide who said that under the deal "you wont get someone from the extreme right or the extreme left" nominated to the federal bench. Following Mr. Bushs election, many conservatives within the California Republican Party believed they could reverse the Clinton administrations practice of filling the courts with liberal-leaning judges. They believe the Parsky plan will now make that impossible.
"A lot of people share my skepticism about the Parsky deal," said a county Republican official from Southern California, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "Maybe it seems less dumb now that (Vermont Sen. James M.) Jeffords has switched. But this pact was made six weeks ago."
"Even if it made sense that a candidate could be approved with three Democrats and one Republican vote, wouldnt you want to have good, solid conservative or at least politically active Republicans, chosen by the California congressional delegation, sit on each district panel?" the county Republican official said.


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