Sunday, October 30, 2005

Scrotus or Scalita

The rumors are running rampant that President Bush will announce his nomination of Janice Rogers Brown for the SCOTUS.

The rumormongers are wishful thinking, but, oh, how I wish it were true. Heavy sigh.

JRB has been on the media short lists and conservative wish lists to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for both vacancies. Along with Miguel Estrada, she has been at the top of my list, too. More importantly, she has not, to the best of my knowledge, been on the leaked lists of candidates under serious consideration for either vacancy by Bush.

No matter how much many of us would relish that fight, for whatever reason the President does not appear to share our devotion to Judge Brown. Chastened by the Miers backlash he may be, but he still holds the deciding vote.

I think the leaks naming Judges Michael Luttig and Sam Alito as the preferred candidates are deliberate signals to conservatives that Bush will get this one right, in both the literal and political sense. If true, the only remaining mystery is whether he will select a Scrotus – a man – or a Scalita – a woman.

I believe the best man for the job may be a woman, Judge Brown, but I will be grateful for any conservative who has a clear, consistent judicial philosophy of originalism/strict constructionism. The only serious argument for a gender-based selection is to counter accusations that critics of the Harriet Miers nomination were sexist – and I personally do not find it that compelling. For reasons that should be obvious after the Miers disappointment, I am reluctant to become too attached to any specific candidate.

Chris Cox is a late entry in the SCOTUS guessing game and would be the kind of surprise Bush likes to spring occasionally, but these are not light and playful times. If Bush is looking for a John Roberts type, Cox might be a close match. He is bright, personable, courteous and humble, which are qualities that seem to resonate with the President. Like Roberts, he is a solid Reagan conservative who has earned the respect of Democrats.

Regardless of Bush’s picks now or in the future, Janice Rogers Brown should still be a highly desirable candidate for the SCOTUS after 2008. She is such a brilliant jurist that her age would be irrelevant. If she were ever to seriously consider elective office again, I would l-o-v-e her to run against Barbara Boxer for Senate, please God.