Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Friday, January 10, 2003
The Pickering Maneuver One knew Bush would continue to nominate staunch conservatives, but one may wonder: why Pickering of all judges?
There are two little reasons and one big reason, and none have anything to do with Charles Pickering, who seems destined not to sit on a federal appeals court. The smaller reasons are more evident: The Southern Strategy, obviously. More importantly, Bush is testing the Democrats, pushing to see how hard they’ll push back. If he’s lucky, he’ll also get to see inside their playbook—not bad for a nonstarter like this.
But the really big reason is something any pool hustler would immediately spot: this isn’t about the federal appeals court, it’s about the Supreme Court. Like the pool hustler, Bush is throwing a win to the Dems. It will be a costly one. Words like “political”, “obviously partisan”, and “Bork” will be invoked. Bush will squal like a mashed cat and fight to the end. He’ll whine and snipe for months afterward, keeping the incident fresh in everyone’s mind. Then, when the William Rehnquist announces his retirement this summer, Bush will howl again. He’ll make sure that the news cycles cover his version of events: the partisanship of the Democrats over judicial nominations.
Then, perhaps ten days or two weeks later, he’ll nominate a surprisingly conservative choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. And challenge the Democrats to block the nominee.