Friday, July 01, 2005


Few Coincidences in Washington

It seems that we are witnessing strategy play out in the timing of Supreme Court retirements. While we must leave the possibility of Rehnquist staying on the Court, it is highly unlikely. We must also leave open the possibility that there is some kind of "ladies or associates first" mentality here, but higher level strategy strikes me as more likely. In my head, the strategy goes something like this. Knowing that this will be a battle, it has been decided that the Republicans can make the Democrats look bad over the confirmation of an Associate Justice, thus giving them more power to push through a Chief. The Republicans are gambling that the Democrats do not know how to wisely use their political capital. There is some history to support that notion, especially considering all of the less-than-muffled screams over the most recent non-Supreme nominees.
I don't know who would have devised the strategy, but if this is as described here, it may be a real winner. Further proof that this might work is the recent polls that suggest the public looks poorly on the Congress. Where there may be copious causes for ill feelings, the Republicans have to owe it, at least in part, to the Democrats filibuster threat. Taking that a step further, the Republicans feel comfortable gambling that if they continue to threaten to shut down the Congress, that Americans will be increasingly upset with them. Democrats, over the past couple of years, have been unwise picking their battles, so Republicans are smart to assume that this will continue.
I read on Drudge in the past couple days that the rumor mill suggests that Rehnquist will hold his announcement off until October. That headline is part of how I came to this conclusion. While we will be ever tired of all of this by the time it has been decided, the "replacements" fight will be an interesting ideological battle.

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