- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2005

Schumer’s phone call

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and architect of the filibuster strategy that blocked so many of President Bush’s judicial nominees in the Republican’s first term, was overheard plotting how to bring down a Supreme Court nominee, Matt Drudge reports at www.drudgereport.com.

Mr. Schumer, speaking on a cell phone while aboard an Amtrak train from the District to New York, promised a fight no matter who Mr. Bush nominates.

“It’s not about an individual judge. … It’s about how it affects the overall makeup of the court,” Mr. Schumer said.

Mr. Schumer, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee as well as chairman of the campaign wing of Senate Democrats, was caught in a long conversation with an unknown political ally, Mr. Drudge said.

“We are contemplating how we are going to go to war over this,” the senator said.

Mr. Schumer said it is always difficult to predict how a Supreme Court nominee will turn out.

“Even William Rehnquist is more moderate than they expected. The only ones that resulted how they predicted were [Antonin] Scalia and [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg. So most of the time they’ve gotten their picks wrong, and that’s what we want to do to them again.”

Mr. Schumer mocked the “Gang of 14” deal to end judicial filibusters except under “extraordinary circumstances” and said it wasn’t relevant in the Supreme Court debate.

“A Priscilla Owen- or Janice Rogers Brown-style appointment may not have been extraordinary to the appellate court but may be extraordinary to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Not long after, at the time the train hit New Jersey, Mr. Schumer called “Gang of 14” member Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.

The two talked in a very friendly manner about doing an event sometime this week together.

Santorum’s book

Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, compares abortion to slavery in his new book, “It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good,” which is being promoted as an alternative to the views of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.

The book describes his evolution from a young politician uncomfortable with abortion to a major player in the pro-life movement, the Associated Press reports.

It tackles subjects ranging from home schooling to welfare reform and advocates family over what he describes as the big government village in Mrs. Clinton’s 1996 book, “It Takes a Village.”

“The African proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” Mr. Santorum writes. “The American version is ‘It takes a village to raise a child — if the village wants that child.’”

Mr. Santorum makes the case that abortion puts the liberty rights of the mother before those of her child, just as the rights of slave owners were put before those of slaves.

“This was tried once before in America,” Mr. Santorum writes. “But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave.”

Mr. Santorum questions why Mrs. Clinton and other liberals tout decreasing abortion numbers if abortion is OK.

“When you look at the politics she would change, her ‘politics of meaning’ boil down to little more than feel-good rhetoric masking a radical left agenda,” Mr. Santorum said.

Bush’s declaration

President Bush insisted yesterday that terror suspects being held at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being treated humanely and promised that every one will get “fair and open trials.”

Mr. Bush made the declaration without prompting from reporters at a press conference with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen before heading to Scotland for the Group of Eight summit.

“The prisoners are well-treated in Guantanamo. There’s total transparency,” Mr. Bush said. “The International Red Cross can go inspect at anytime, anyday. The press, of course, is welcome to go down to Guantanamo.”

The European Parliament and the Council of Europe have criticized Mr. Bush for declaring the prisoners “enemy combatants” rather than “prisoners of war,” which would give them more rights under the Geneva Conventions.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also has called for Guantanamo to be closed, saying the purported mistreatment fosters hatred toward the West and helps al Qaeda recruit members.

Court polls

“In the days and weeks ahead, we are going to see public polls used by the media to gain leverage in the selection of a replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor,” David Hill writes in the Hill newspaper.

“Because media organizations cannot openly campaign for a particular nominee or type of nominee, they will hide behind biased or leading polls to advance their agendas,” said Mr. Hill, director of Hill Research Consultants, a Texas-based firm that has polled for Republican candidates and causes since 1988.

“Before we succumb to these prejudiced conclusions, we should look at a plethora of polls that were taken just before O’Connor’s announcement. These pre-vacancy polls may provide more useful insight on the public’s real views of the Supreme Court, its justices and their decisions.

“One of these surveys, released June 20 by the legal Web site FindLaw, makes us wonder whether public opinion should play any role in replacing O’Connor. The national survey of 1,000 adults found that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t name a single current U.S. Supreme Court justice. …

“Media polls will also press for ‘moderation’ because they know they can’t win the war for outright liberalism. A nationwide Gallup poll of 1,006 adults taken in mid-June, before O’Connor’s decision, asked Americans whether they would like to see Bush appoint a new justice who would make the court more liberal or more conservative than it now is or whether they’d keep the court as it is now. A strong plurality of 41 percent chose a justice who’d make the court ‘more conservative.’ Only 30 percent wanted a more liberal court, and just 24 percent championed the status quo.”

PFAW’s funders

“The liberal advocacy group People for the American Way (PFAW), which has sought to kill a number of President Bush’s judicial nominations in recent years, is preparing to play a leading role in opposing the president’s nominee for a place on the Supreme Court. But what few people know is that PFAW will do its work financed, in part, by several of the country’s leading public — and ostensibly apolitical — corporations,” Byron York reports at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“A copy of PFAW’s 2003 annual report examined by National Review Online lists dozens of corporations as contributors. The companies include Sony Corporation of America, the New York Times, 20th Century Fox Television (a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.), Best Buy Corporation, A&E Television Network, Eastman Kodak, NBC, Home Box Office, Inc., the Hearst Corporation, Comcast Corporation, Blockbuster, Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Sotheby’s, and Conde Nast.”

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

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