- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2005

Drafting Condi

Americans for Rice, a group that’s trying to drum up support for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to run for president in 2008, has put together a 60-second television ad that it hopes to air by the end of the month.

“While driving from Fargo, North Dakota, to Nashville in my Mini Cooper plastered with ‘Condoleezza Rice for President’ bumper stickers, numerous cars honked at me and the drivers either waved or gave a thumbs up,” writes Crystal Dueker, the organization’s national co-chairman.

“It set the tone for our successful fund-raising booth at the National Federation of Republican Women. Over 1,500 women from across the United States gathered to discuss politics, leadership and a vision for the future of our nation,” she said.

About 190 women donated an average of $15 each toward the funds to put the ad on television. In the meantime, it can be viewed at www.americansforrice.com.

Religious test

“They should be ashamed. We should be ashamed. We have not progressed much in 45 years it seems, and we appear to be traveling in the wrong direction,” Manuel Miranda writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Article VI of the Constitution prohibits a religious test from being imposed on nominees to public office. The clause was motivated by the experience of Catholics in the Maryland colony and Baptists in Virginia who had been the targets of Great Britain’s two Test Acts. These infamous laws of intolerance sought to prevent anyone who did not belong to the Church of England from holding public office. The Test Acts did not say that Catholics could not hold office; the bigotry was more subtle. Officials questioned would-be public servants to determine whether they believed in particular tenets of the Catholic faith,” Mr. Miranda said.

“While questioning John Roberts on Tuesday, Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter asked: ‘Would you say that your views are the same as those expressed by John Kennedy when he was a candidate, and he spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September of 1960: “I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.” ‘

“Hours later, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California made it worse: ‘In 1960, there was much debate about President John F. Kennedy’s faith and what role Catholicism would play in his administration. At that time, he pledged to address the issues of conscience out of a focus on the national interests, not out of adherence to the dictates of one’s religion. … My question is: Do you?’

“How insulting. How offensive. How invidiously ignorant to question someone like Judge Roberts with such apparent presumption and disdain for the religion he practices. The JFK question is not just the camel’s nose of religious intolerance; it is the whole smelly camel.”

Dean screams

The Democratic National Committee yesterday stepped up its attacks on Judge John G. Roberts Jr., with DNC Chairman Howard Dean saying that the Supreme Court nominee was “the wrong man at the wrong time for our country.”

Mr. Dean used similar phasing during his ill-fated 2004 presidential campaign when he condemned the U.S. war in Iraq, calling it “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“The skills John Roberts displays are like those of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or House Republican Leader Tom DeLay. Both of those men have sharp political minds — they are among the smartest in Washington. But they use those skills to push a narrow ideology and win at any costs,” he said.

“Roberts has spent a career using the law to protect corporate interests and roll back the rights that protect us all,” Mr. Dean said in an e-mail fundraising solicitation to Democratic Party members.

Hatch’s hint

Among the witnesses who testified in support of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. during yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was Utah District Judge Denise Posse-Blanco Lindberg. Judge Lindberg seraved as a lawyer with Judge Roberts at the Washington firm Hogan & Hartson LLP, and worked with him as a Supreme Court clerk.

Observers have suggested that President Bush would like to make a Hispanic or a woman his next Supreme Court nominee, and Judge Lindberg is both — a point that Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, made sure to emphasize yesterday.

After Judge Lindberg had testified, Mr. Hatch thanked her effusively for her testimony and recited her impressive biography: The daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father, she was 9 years old when her family fled Cuba after communist dictator Fidel Castro came to power.

In addition to her magna cum laude law degree from Brigham Young University, Judge Lindberg also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Utah. She is a devout Mormon and the mother of two grown sons.

She was appointed to her state court position in 1998 by Gov. Michael O. Leavitt, a Republican whom Mr. Bush has since chosen as secretary of health and human services.

Praising her as having “one of the strongest backgrounds of any woman lawyer in this country,” Mr. Hatch told Judge Lindberg, “I was particularly pleased to listen to your experiences as a woman, as a minority, as an able jurist. … That means a lot to me, and I personally want to pay tribute to you as somebody who has not only excelled in the legal profession, but deserves the accolades that I’ve just given.”

Arnold ready

The worst-kept secret in California is that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will seek a second term in 2006, and he is expected to make it official today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“I’m not in this just for the short term,” Mr. Schwarzenegger told a friendly crowd of more than 120 people at a town-hall meeting in Clovis on Wednesday.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, who took office after the October 2003 recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, left little doubt as to what he would announce during today’s appearance in San Diego.

“If you start something, you have to finish it,” he said. “People sent me to Sacramento to fix a broken system. I’m going to stay and fight for the people until the system is fixed once and for all.”

New chairman

The House Republican Conference announced yesterday that New York Rep. Peter T. King will be the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Mr. King succeeds former Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican, who left the House to become head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]


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