July 06, 2005

Party of No

A question or a modest proposal. Why don't the Senate Democrats put out a list of judges that they would nominate to the Supreme Court if they had their druthers? I don't mean put out an ultimatum, i.e., a list of conservative nominees they deem acceptable and hope Bush selects from the list. [EDIT: So I don't mean what Harry Reid's been doing of late.] The Democrats don't have much of a choice in who the president nominates, and setting boundaries in this way wouldn't appear to do much good. But presumably the purpose of an opposition party—especially one that can't do a whole hell of a lot about these Supreme Court picks—is to present an alternative to voters, to present a reason why it, and not the Republican Party, should be in power.

So what better than to say: "Here are people we think would make good justices"? Putting actual names forward is bound to garner more coverage then simply saying, "We would pick judges who support environmental regulations, yadda, yadda." These people could be liberals, or moderates, or whatever. It's just a way of signaling that these are the sort of reasonable and user-friendly judges Democrats would pick if in power, and compare them to the lunatic (assuming it's a lunatic) that Bush is putting forward. Is this stupid? Obviously it would be stupid if voters did, in fact, prefer the Roe-overturning, minimum wage-bashing, EPA-neutering justice entering stage right. But in that case the Democrats kind of have more serious problems on their hands. It's also a way of moving beyond this "philosophy of the stop-sign" nonsense.

Eh? I'd be interested to hear why this wouldn't be a good idea, if it's not. Another, more fun question is who you'd pick to sit on the Supreme Court. Personally, I'd be down with Robin West, Lani Guinier, Cass Sunstein, or Mary Becker, although the last might pose a bit of a problem because as far as I can tell, Becker actually hates the Constitution. Heh, right. Um, but the Democrats probably shouldn't float any of those names...
-- Brad Plumer 1:28 AM || ||