NYT reported Disheartened by the administration's success with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., Democratic leaders say that President Bush is putting an enduring conservative ideological imprint on the nation's judiciary,
That is what he was elected for.and that they see little hope of holding off the tide without winning back control of the Senate or the White House.
They are going to need both for anyone but a moderate. If they win back the Senate they may be able to refuse to put up any more conservatives, but a Republican President is not going to nominate extreme liberals like Clinton did. And if they win the White House, but if Republicans hold the Senate, then they should expect the Republicans to do the same thing to liberals a Democratic President might name, that the Dems did to Bush's nominees.In interviews, Democrats said that the lesson of the Alito hearings was that this White House could put on the bench almost any qualified candidate, even one whom Democrats consider to be ideologically out of step with the country.
That is because it is the Democrats that are ideologically out of step with the country.That conclusion amounts to a repudiation of a central part of a strategy Senate Democrats settled on years ago in a private retreat where they discussed how to fight a Bush White House effort to recast the judiciary: to argue against otherwise qualified candidates by saying they were taking the courts too far to the right.
It was already too far to the left. Bush is just bringing it back to the center.Even though Democrats thought from the beginning that they had little hope of defeating the nomination, they were dismayed that a nominee with such clear conservative views - in particular a written record of opposition to abortion rights - appeared to be stirring little opposition.
Republicans said that Mr. Bush, in making conservative judicial choices, was doing precisely what he said he would do in both of his presidential campaigns, and indeed that his re-election, and the election of a Republican Congress, meant that the choices reflected the views of much of the American public.
Republicans rejected Democratic assertions that Judge Alito was out of the mainstream. "The American people see Judge Alito and say, that's exactly the sort of person we want to see on the Supreme Court," said Steve Schmidt, the White House official who managed the nomination.
Precisely. It is the Democrats that are out of the mainstream.As a result, several Democrats said, Mr. Bush - even at time when many of his other initiatives seem in doubt and when he had been forced by conservatives to withdraw his first choice for the seat - appeared on the verge of achieving what he has set as a primary goal of his presidency: a fundamental reshaping of the federal judiciary along more conservative lines. Mr. Bush has now appointed one-quarter of the federal appeals court judges, and, assuming Judge Alito is confirmed, will have put two self-described conservatives on a Supreme Court that has only two members appointed by a Democratic president.
But it has a couple of liberals that Republican Presidents foolishly nominated.