- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2005

Hot and shrill

“President Bush has yet to pick his Supreme Court nominee but he’s already won Round 1 of the fight — because Democrats have come on way too strong and sound as if they’re spoiling for a fight no matter who’s the nominee,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“That’s good for Bush because in this fight, the side that comes off as too extreme will lose in the court of public opinion. Most Americans believe the high court should be above politics,” Miss Orin said.

” ‘I like very much the place we’re at as Republicans because Democrats overreacted. They attacked immediately — they were too hot and too shrill,’ said a senior Republican strategist.

“Another veteran Republican put it this way: ‘The Democrats are telegraphing so blatantly that they’re going to tar and feather whoever the nominee is that they’re losing credibility.’



“Typical was Sen. Ted Kennedy: ‘If the president abuses his power and nominates someone who threatens to roll back the rights and freedoms of the American people, then the American people will insist that we oppose that nominee, and we intend to do so.’

“The numbers show the Democrats were leading with their chins because a CNN poll found an extraordinary 86 percent of Americans expect Democrats to use ‘inappropriate political reasons’ to oppose Bush’s nominee.”

Web of opponents

“NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has taken a leading role in the fight against several of President Bush’s judicial nominees, has purchased the web addresses stopgonzales.com, stopgonzales.org, and stopgonzales.net in anticipation that the president might nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court,” Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Gonzales, seen as a moderate, has sometimes been mentioned as a candidate who might not spur vigorous opposition from pro-Democratic groups. The existence of the stopgonzales sites indicates that such a vigorous opposition is at least being planned,” Mr. York said.

“Asked whether the purchase of the stopgonzales names meant NARAL would oppose Gonzales’ nomination, NARAL spokesman David Seldin told National Review Online, ‘I wouldn’t read too much into that. We haven’t made any decision on that. We had pretty serious concerns about his nomination for attorney general, but, in general, we are hoping not to have to oppose a nomination by the president. We are hoping for peace and arming for war.’

“NARAL has also purchased the Web addresses stopowen.com, which refers to Judge Priscilla Owen, stopmcconnell.com, which refers to Judge Michael McConnell, and stopgarza.com, which refers to Judge Emilio Garza. All are considered possible candidates for the court. …

“Other anti-Bush groups have also purchased web addresses from which to attack other potential candidates. For example, People for the American Way has purchased stopluttig.com, for Judge Michael Luttig, stopwilkinson.com, for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, stopalito.com, for Judge Samuel Alito, stopbrown.com, for Judge Janice Rogers Brown, and stopjones.com, for Judge Edith Jones.”

A spokeswoman for People for the American Way said her group has yet to decide whether to oppose any potential nominee, Mr. York said.

“Finally, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, another group that has played a substantial role in opposing Bush nominees, has purchased stopestrada.com, for Miguel Estrada, President Bush’s filibustered nominee to a place on D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and stoproberts.com, for Judge John Roberts.”

Happy days

The coming Supreme Court showdown should do wonders for fundraising at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, headed by Sen. Elizabeth Doleof North Carolina, Hugh Hewitt writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

Mr. Hewitt said there probably will be another opening on the court soon, “which is why I expect some combination of Judges Garza-Luttig-McConnell-Roberts to provide the two nominees that will probably be needed.”

“Joining Dole in hoping for the sort of nominees that can awaken enthusiasm for increasing a Senate majority are front-running GOP candidates for various Senate seats: Mark Kennedy in Minnesota, Dino Rossi in Washington State, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, and a couple of Florida challengers to incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Would-be Republican senators in New Jersey, Michigan Tennessee, and Nebraska are also hoping for the right set of Supreme Court nominees, as must be incumbents Rick Santorum, Jim Talent, John Kyle, and John Ensign, among others who will benefit greatly from a defining set of hearings on the future of the Supreme Court.”

Mr. Hewitt added: “Another center-stage appearance of the Michael Moore Democrats is on schedule. The GOP candidates in 2006 could not have hoped for a better opening act to the campaigns ahead. The Judiciary Committee proceedings will be broadcast from start to finish, and though the Democrats will think this a boon to their cause, it won’t be long until the reality of prolonged exposure to Leahy, Kennedy, Biden, Schumer, and — especially — Durbin sinks in.

“It is going to be a wonderful summer and early fall.”

Romney’s choice

Massachusetts lawmakers have approved a measure that would allow pharmacists to dispense the “morning-after pill” without a prescription and require hospitals to offer it to rape victims, setting the stage for Gov. Mitt Romney’s first major decision on an issue that many conservatives link to abortion, the Boston Globe reports.

The House approved the bill Wednesday by a 135-17 vote, following the Senate’s unanimous vote for a similar bill last month. Lawmakers will have to settle several differences between the two versions before it heads to Mr. Romney’s desk, Globe reporter Scott S. Greenberger writes.

Because both chambers approved it by veto-proof margins, the measure will become law no matter what Mr. Romney does. With the Republican governor considering a run for president, however, his decision on the emergency-contraception legislation is being watched closely by activists on both sides.

A spokeswoman suggested that Mr. Romney’s decision will revolve around the question of whether the emergency-contraception bill changes the current laws on abortion.

“When the governor receives the emergency-contraception legislation, he will review it carefully and measure whether or not it changes the status quo,” spokeswoman Julie Teer said.

A nationally prominent group of social conservatives urged him to veto it.

“It’s a family issue. People will be watching to see what he does on this,” said Connie Mackey, vice president for government affairs of the Washington-based Family Research Council. “This gives the right to young girls to go in and get a very dangerous drug. It’s insane. It’s worthy of a governor’s veto.”

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

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