January 17, 2006

The First Lady's take on delaying the Alito vote.

Applying women-and-the-elderly moral pressure, she observes that it's unkind to to Sandra Day O'Connor:
"I'm disappointed about that," Mrs. Bush said. "I know Sandra Day O'Connor would like to retire.

"She stayed longer because the president asked her to when he nominated John Roberts for chief justice," the first lady added.
Classic First Lady rhetoric.

33 comments:

TidalPoet said...

When I read that, I thought, "There's a perspective the beltway people won't put on the table."

She is a classy lady.


(vufnohta: are we in Scandanavia yet?)

Eli Blake said...

She has a right to her opinion, but did Laura talk to Justice O'Connor before reaching this conclusion?

Or did she consider that perhaps Justice O'Connor would rather see a thorough vetting of her successor and then allow the time for Senators to think it over before voting on him, instead of just slapping it on through? Better to do it right than do it quick?

The truth is that no one has asked Justice O'Connor of what she thinks about the Alito hearings, and I'm sure that she appreciates Laura putting words into her mouth.

If Laura wants to have any say in confirming Supreme Court nominees, then she can go run for the Senate (which is why her predecessor now does have a say in it-- she did what it took to have a say).

But, Laura is no Hillary.

Simon said...

There is a rumour - prety far out there, IMO, but potentially of immense significance - that Justice Souter have been talking about retiring. I think it's very unlikely, but if so, it would be, literally, armageddon for the Democrats: the reality of a third Bush SCOTUS pick, and the high likelihood of a forth. Retirements of both Stevens and Souter - if Bush picks the right choices ("right", in my view, being Judge Sykes and perhaps Miguel Estrada or Steve Calabresi) - would not only create an opportunity for a genuine conservative majority on the Court, but would at a stroke render Tony Kennedy a nullity.

My suggested GOP response to the delay is explained here.

TidalPoet said...

Wow, talk about an overreaction.

Not one thing the First Lady said about O'Connor was incorrect.

Putting words in O'Connor's mouth? She stated that O'Connor wanted to retire (obviously true) and that she did stay longer because the President asked her to (again, obviously true).

Which of these statements do you believe were made up?

But I do find it funny that you support Hillary's First Lady (obvious political maneuvering) right to have an opinion on all matters (HillaryCare anyone) but Laura Bush isn't even allowed to voice an opinion without first becoming a Senator. Hillary had quite a bit to say, long before she ran for anything... but your memory probably has a heavy filter on anything pre-2000.

That aside, this was an article about Mrs. Bush, not O'Connor. Or do you belieeve that all opinions in all articles must be backchecked to see what the source believes to be true? Perhaps you believe in such expert journalism, but if so, let me point you to the New York Times - they seem to disagree.

"I'm sure she appreciates... " Are you putting thoughts into O'Connor's head now? When did you run for the Senate? Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. Checked your demagogue rating today? You'd be blinking at 100%.

SteveR said...

Eli:

Nothing Mrs Bush said relies on any first hand knowledge of Justice O'Conner's feelings.

Laura's disapointed.. Ok

"I know Sandra Day O'Connor would like to retire." We knew that because they are replacing her and no one forced her out.

"She stayed longer because the president asked her to when he nominated John Roberts for chief justice" We knew that as well.

Please no Hillary comparisons, are you kidding me?

DaveG said...

The truth is that no one has asked Justice O'Connor of what she thinks about the Alito hearings

... is about as knowable, yet presented as fact, as what Arlen Spectre receives in his mail.

Goesh said...

Souter off to pasture?? Oh God! My lovely Janice Rogers Brown, get fitted for a new black robe...

reader_iam said...

Classic first-lady rhetoric, indeed!

What she said isn't earth-shaking, surprising, or even important. But it's going to resonate simply because the delayed vote--that is, the reasons behind it--so nakedly exemplifies just the attitudes and shenanigans that average Americans can't abide in beltway-centric pols.

Dems, in this case, need to get over themselves and get on with it.

Word verification: hugwrryh

Tired of making nice with those who are so persistently obtuse and aggravating.

2nd word verification: nsputza

The sound of disgust one omits when one exhibits a complete inability to type what one sees.

Hamsun56 said...

I like Laura Bush, but I think they use her politically when they think it will help. This time to make the Dems seem nasty for playing politics and causing grief to poor old Sandra who has made a huge sacrifice by staying on for a few more months.

What condescending nonsense! Justice O'Connor is a professional at the highest level in her field is able to make her own decsions and take the consequences of them. A protracted confirmation hearing certainly was something that she foresaw when she made her decison to wait for a confirmation before retiring. I don't have much sympathy for Dems handling of the hearing, but that they should take this into consideration is absurd.

Simon said...

"Souter off to pasture?? Oh God! My lovely Janice Rogers Brown, get fitted for a new black robe..."

I have a few concerns with JRB; she would not be my first pick. My preference would be Judge Diane Sykes, first brought to my attention by Althouse, in fact. She seems to have the appropriate intellectual heft and a demonstrably appropriate judicial philosophy; she has experience on both Federal apellate and [state] supreme courts, and is a strong writer. And, truth be told, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think it helps a nominee in this day and age to be photogenic, which Sykes beyond doubt is.

In any instance, I think we're both out of luck; Bush wants to appoint the first (well, second) hispanic Justice, and I think the urge will become uncontrollable with the next vacancy, which suggests Garza, Cantero or Estrada.

Simon said...

"A protracted confirmation hearing certainly was something that [O'Connor] foresaw when she made her decison to wait for a confirmation before retiring."

To be fair, when O'Connor anounced her retirement on July 1 of last year, I doubt she seriously entertained thoughts that the confirmation would be so protracted as to be dragging on seven months later.

vbspurs said...

Or did she consider that perhaps Justice O'Connor would rather see a thorough vetting of her successor and then allow the time for Senators to think it over before voting on him, instead of just slapping it on through? Better to do it right than do it quick?

Although Eli, I know where you're coming from (the need to do it right, rather than do it quickly), Mrs. Bush's EMINENTLY sensible take of the situation, strikes one as spot on.

Justice O'Connor stepped down, in large part, because she has to take care of her Alzheimer's ailing husband.

Now, to be sure, she wants to do it right -- but I think the First Lady is thinking in very human terms, which Senate Judiciary Committee politics, the kind which Senator Kennedy and Schumer and Graham practise, will never understand.

Laura Bush is indeed, a classy lady -- First Lady.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I like Laura Bush,

I don't know anyone who is 'just folks', who doesn't.

It's hard to dislike a woman who once admitted to Cloroxing her shelves for relaxation.

but I think they use her politically when they think it will help.

If you're saying she's a stealth weapon, absolutely.

But I think she has her own opinions, which interestingly at times, do not conform to the administration's.

This comment, as well as the Harriet Miers one (where she was asked by Matt Lauer if the treatment of Miss Miers was sexist, "yes I think so") and the very recent Condi Rice for President testimonial, come straight from the heart.

She comments on matters close to her.

She doesn't venture into political fields unknown (as Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton did).

And that's what people like.

Cheers,
Victoria

Simon said...

"This comment, as well as the Harriet Miers one (where she was asked by Matt Lauer if the treatment of Miss Miers was sexist, 'yes I think so') and the very recent Condi Rice for President testimonial, come straight from the heart."

Straight from the heart is one thing. Ignorant and absurd is quite another: Mrs. Bush did her credibility no favors with her ludicrous comment on the Miers nomination.

Jen Bradford said...

With apologies if I'm being redundant, since I'm rushing and haven't read every comment thoroughly:

My understanding when O'Connor retired was that her husband suffers from alzheimer's disease, and she's exhausted. My first thought during the Miers brouhaha was, "what a drag for O'Connor" - and I suspect Laura Bush had the same thought. It's not really a comment about the process or the candidates, from that point of view.

Old Dad said...

It's too bad she couldn't really speak her mind.

Her mother-in-law via Roveian mind meld:

"Yeah sure I'm disappointed. I'm just as sick of this charade as you are. Sammy really stuck it those ass hats, but in all fairness, the Dems need some time to figure out whether or not they can afford to vote for him or not. Most of them want to, but they've got to suck up to Soros and the moveon.org nutburgers. Don't get me wrong. Slammin Sammy's a shoe in, but the kabuki ain't over til it's over.

RogerA said...

I am struck by how many posters apparently delight in the Fiskian approach to responding to comments--take each line and deconstruct it; make snide commentary; suggest that the person making the comment isnt educated enough--etc etc-

Where this mode of thought comes from I know not. I assume it comes from the law school educational system that produces JDs--I am not saying that the system that produces PhDs is any better, because I have some experience in that system.

I really do defer to the sainted William F Buckley who said something about preferring to be ruled by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than the faculty at Harvard (or any other institution of higher learning).

Is there anything that suggest a reader of an opinion cannot simply take that person at his or her word--or is the complusion to parse it, dissect it and Fisk it too compelling?

RogerA said...

oops--sorry one after thought: I was NOT referring to the posters on this specific thread.

Apologies to anyone offended.

reader_iam said...

I just re-read my comment from earlier today, and just want to make clear that in my "word verification" definition related to hugwrryh, I was emphatically NOT referring to commenters here, or anywhere else.

I'm sorry that it may have come across that way.

John in Nashville said...

No one is holding a gun to Justice O'Connor's head in order to prevent her from retiring unconditionally. Where is the need for anyone to speak for her? Que sera, sera.

miklos rosza said...

TidalPoet,

"your memory probably has a heavy filter" is a thought-provoking phrase.

Hamsun56 said...

Simon: The initial postponement to O'Connor's retirement was Rehnquist's death and her argeeing to let that slot be filled first. Then came the Harriet fiasco which further delayed things. You can blame the Dems for many things, but not those two.

vbspurs: I agree that Laura is her own woman - she's not a Pat Nixon. However, she's not a loose cannon either. I'm sure she wants to help her husband and is not adverse to delivering a message in what appears to be an off hand comment. She has the poise and smarts to pull it off. Both the Persident and the first Lady have to "manage" what they say to the public. I'm sure Rove has some input in this.

Pogo said...

Laura Bush is the definition of classy. Whether she brings up this issue on her own or at her husband's behest is immaterial.

She discusses openly a very human issue precisely because it has been ignored both in the press and by the judiciary committee. And just imagine the reaction if Mr. Bush himself had said this.

While O'Connor remains a dogged professional, her desire to care for her husband during a very difficult time must be honored. Any delay during such a progresive and devastating disease is unfair and, well, mean.

Of note, a WaPo article in July 2005 had this snide comment on her decision to leave:
"I was on a radio show and someone called in to say, 'Would we ever see a man retire to take care of his spouse?' " says Suzanna Sherry, a law professor at Vanderbilt University who has written about O'Connor. "This is why she's never been considered a feminist's feminist. A feminist would say: 'Well, why would she do that?'".

P.S. I have seen men retire to do exactly this, but it's rare for anyone to have to retire at age 75; most already have done so.

VW ~ czxkc: What comes out when a kid tries to tell you he just put a whole box of Chiclets in his mouth.

Simon said...

Andrew,
"The initial postponement to O'Connor's retirement was Rehnquist's death and her argeeing to let that slot be filled first. Then came the Harriet fiasco which further delayed things. You can blame the Dems for many things, but not those two."

I didn't mean to pass any comment on the blame issue, merely to observe that I doubt that O'Connor foresaw the length of time she would continue to serve.

I completely agree that the blame for the Miers fiasco lies entirely with President Bush, his staff who failed to catch the mistake, and the handful of people (the ones who believe that loyalty is doing whatever your friend wants, rather than, I don't know, maybe excercising some independent judgement and not letting your buddy blow his toes off) who kept us in the furnace long after the nomination was clearly done.

This latest delay, however, is just partisan absurdity. They bamboozled Specter, who will hopefully learn from this that he should get agreements with the committee dems signed by a notarary public. People always complain about the bad blood on Capitol Hill - well, here's why: if you can't trust your colleagues, if you can't take them at their word, bad blood flows.

Simon said...

""I was on a radio show and someone called in to say, 'Would we ever see a man retire to take care of his spouse?' " says Suzanna Sherry, a law professor at Vanderbilt University who has written about O'Connor. "This is why she's never been considered a feminist's feminist. A feminist would say: 'Well, why would she do that?'""

Is Prof. Sherry playing devil's advocate, or is she suggesting she buys into this bullshit? I thought feminism was supposed to be about ending male domination over women, not replacing it with domination by a cultural intelligentsia who will tell you what "real women" do and do not do.

Hamsun56 said...

Pogo: Politics can be very mean but the Dems certainly don't have a monopoly on this. The Dems are not being mean to O'Connor - that would imply the intent of delaying to cause her pain. If they are being mean to anyone it is Alito.

The health of O'Connor's spouse isn't a consideration in the Dems action. Nor should it be. The stakes in this game are too high for that.

Simon said...

"If they are being mean to anyone it is Alito."

Mean to Alito, and spiteful to Bush. Having had nearly three months to find something - anything - to use to derail the Alito nomination (a massive research project, to be sure, for just a handful of poor Democratic senators, along with their pittance of merely a few hundred staff and the outside assistance of nothing more than the entirety of the mainstream media, the liberal blogosphere, and mostly every left-leaning law professor in the country; it's easy to see why they claim they need more time) and come up empty handed, what can they possibly hope to accomplish with another week that they haven't already failed to accomplish thusfar?

Pogo said...

Andrew,

I agree the stakes are far too high to give someone a pass just to move things along. Nothing of the kind has occurred here; Alito has surely not gotten a pass.

Laura Bush is quietly pointing out that now the delay is just for the sake of delay, much as a filibuster and non-confirmation are unlikely.

So do your job, Senators. If the vaunted liberal compassion has any real-world meaning, and is something more than a talking point, now is the time to display it without penalty. Why this needs to be pointed out is unclear.

Lola said...

Mrs. Bush is clearly sympathetic to all parties involved - Justice O'Connor, her family, Judge Alito, and his family, and the American people watching this history take place. Clearly, this delay is simply a tactic to find more time to dig up dirt and figure out another maneuver to prevent his confirmation. But, as stated, at this point, they have had months to prepare and delaying this confirmation process doesn't help anyone or anything. This is an important process, but do they really need to delay this again? It's time for Senators to review his credentials, take a cue from Senator Nelson, and decide how they will vote (with a good reason it not confirming Alito).

chsw10605 said...

POTUS should consider a recess appointment for the next SCOTUS vacancy. This would accomplish two things. First, it would allow the outgoing justice to leave with dignity, or to allow that justice to attend to a family member. The human cost would be reduced. Second, it would force the Democrats to either behave or filibuster, as they cannot act in the dishonest manner as they did with Alito and not pay an electoral price. If the Democrats act respectfully, there is a return to status quo ante Bork. If there is a filibuster, then the constitutional option will be invoked in the Senate. This would also force a return to status quo ante Bork. The Democrats will then have to move towards the center in a nonrhetorical, substantive way. That would be a good thing for the country.

chsw10605

Simon Kenton said...

Pogo quoted:

"I was on a radio show and someone called in to say, 'Would we ever see a man retire to take care of his spouse?' " says Suzanna Sherry, a law professor at Vanderbilt University who has written about O'Connor. "This is why she's never been considered a feminist's feminist. A feminist would say: 'Well, why would she do that?'".

I find myself hoping that this is not actually a 'feminist' position. Perhaps it is not the winner, but it has to be in contention for the most atrocious remark ever quoted on this site.

Louise said...

I'm so proud of Mrs. Bush! She is becoming more vocal on so many issues--and she recognizes the importance of nominating extremely qualified and independent judge to the SCOTUS such as Judge Alito. Good for Mrs. Bush!

brylin said...

The outcome of the Alito nomination has become less predictable with Montana Democrat Senator Max Baucus announcing he will vote against Alito.

How about this scenario:

It is looking like the Dems (with the exception of Ben Nelson) will close ranks against Alito.

If this happens the Alito will not be able to get 60 votes.

With less than 60 votes, the Dems can filibuster, then the nuclear option may be put into play.

If the nuclear option is exercised then Alito will be confirmed.

But the Dems will sue to invalidate the nuclear option (failure to follow Senate rules requiring 67 votes to change the rule) and the case could go to the Supreme Court.

The Court will decide 5-4 that the nuclear option is valid and Alito will be seated.

If you thought that Bush v. Gore was controversial... .

O'Connor may have a long wait.