Notes from the Summit - Ed Whelan on Judges
Part Three of the Summit report will be up this afternoon - getting it ready now. Meanwhile, here's some courts-related stuff I haven't mentioned yet, from Ed Whelan.
Whelan is the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and he posts on the "Bench Memos"
blog at NRO (he's also a former clerk to Scalia). He spoke in the Saturday afternoon social conservative panel, and I didn't cover his remarks below, but some of it is noteworthy.
First, he aggressively repeats the conservative framing of the judicial fight: "The courts have been the primary aggressors in the judicial wars."
"A major goal here," he says, "has to be to get the courts out of the way
." The two main strategies:
- Winning on judicial appointments
- "Responsible but vigorous criticism" (read: political harassment) of "activist judges."
If there's a vacancy on the Supreme Court, Whelan argues, there's "plenty of room" to get a conservative in. "Don't be timid," he urges the audience.
Whelan says the two major lessons of the recent judicial wars are:
Liberals really have to do a better job in the framing on this. "Judicial activism" is a poisonous phrase and we've done little or nothing to combat it.
- "Quality matters." No more Harriet Miers-es.
- "The public prefers judicial restraint to judicial activism."
Republicans must insist on up-or-down votes
on judicial nominees, Whelan tells us. They only need peel off a few Democratic (or "Independent Democratic") Senators to win floor fights.
Whelan: "It is critical to win in 2008 with a candidate who will make strong judicial appointments." Whoever is elected in '08 could likely have four to six court vacancies to fill.
An audience member asks Whelan to name some good conservative candidates for Supreme Court vacancies. Whelan says "I'm not going to answer that question," but then answers it anyway. Of the top of his head:
The last one, in my notes, looks like "Joey Clemens," but it's hard to read my own writing, and Google turns up nothing. Also tried "Chalmers," but that didn't work either. I suppose it could be Edith Clement
or John Cornyn
(scroll down), if I'm going deaf or my handwriting has completely gone to pot. Any other ideas?
Labels: Bench Memos, Conservative Summit, Ed Whelan, Judicial Nominees, Supreme Court