Sunday, July 17, 2005

George W. and "the Laura factor"

Ann Althouse (see here) notes that Bush is looking seriously at women and minority candidates to fill O'Connor's spot on the Supreme Court. Why? Call it "the Laura factor":

Why is Bush homing in on Alberto Gonzales for the Supreme Court appointment, despite all the noisemaking by social conservatives who worry that he might not be pro-life? Maybe it's the Laura factor. Don't you think Laura Bush is telling him that he can't put someone on the Court who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? Appointing Gonzales is so perfect: he can pick his dear friend, he can have the distinction and the political advantage of appointing the first Hispanic Justice, he can deflect criticism from Democrats (who have to realize that Gonzales is the most liberal possible choice Bush can make) and from Republicans (who just don't have enough information to pin Gonzales down as pro-abortion), and he can do what his wife is (probably) telling him that he simply must do.

Put the Laura factor into the equation and the answer is obvious: Bush will pick Gonzales.

I'm generally against formal quotas, especially where an institution like the Supreme Court is involved, but it would make sense to replace O'Connor with another (qualified) woman or, barring that, with a (qualified) minority. I say "qualified" because I don't want to see token representation on the Court. I want qualified justices to make up the highest court in the land, and, obviously, there are many qualified women and minorities out there.

Bush has always had strong women around him, from his mother to Laura to Karen Hughes to Harriet Miers to Condi. I'm not sure if Ann is right -- no one knows what, if any, advice Laura is giving to her husband -- but let's hope that, in the end, Laura carries more weight than the extremists in Bush's base.

Thanks to Amba for the tip (see here). One final point: The Senate may have confirmed Janice Rogers Brown after the filibuster deal patched together by the Gang of 14, but I just don't think that Bush will go there again. Amba's right that Democrats would "fight her appointment tooth and nail". (I previously wrote about JRB here.)

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