Clement For The SCOTUS? Let’s Hope Not

Ugh…this is not particularly good news:

“President Bush is close to a decision on his first nominee to the Supreme Court and U.S. appeals court Judge Edith Clement has emerged as a leading candidate, Republican sources said.

The main appeal to Clement is supposed to be that she hasn’t left a long paper trail and that she’ll get some Democratic support:

“Republican strategists with close ties to the White House described Clement as the leading candidate.

“She’s pretty untouchable,” one of the strategists said, noting that she has attracted little attention for her judicial opinions, reducing the chances of a bitter confirmation fight over her writings.

…Brad Berenson, Bush’s former associate White House counsel, said Clement would “face a relatively smooth confirmation” process because she has the backing of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. “She’s the rare find that would be acceptable to both conservatives and Democrats,” he said.”

Of course, with 55 Republicans in the Senate, Bush doesn’t need to have any Democratic support to get his choice through. Furthermore, since there’s no paper trail, Clement may also turn out to be much more liberal than people think. That’s why I’ve referred to Clement in a previous post as one of the judges that “might be good candidates to turn into little Kennedys or Souters”.

If you want evidence that Clement wouldn’t be another Scalia or Thomas, just know that she has previously made it clear that she would not overturn Roe v. Wade:

” (Clement) has stated that the Supreme Court “has clearly held that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to have an abortion” and that “the law is settled in that regard.”

Clement would be a very disappointing pick and were Bush to select her, it would be proof that his talk about changing the court for the better was nothing but campaign rhetoric…

*** Update #1 ***: From the AP:

“President Bush has made his decision about whom he plans to nominate to take Sandra Day O’Connor’s place on the Supreme Court and will announce his pick to the nation in a prime-time address Tuesday night, the White House said.” —

*** Update #2 ***: Michelle Malkin has a round-up of conservative comments on Clement and the reactions don’t seem to be particularly enthusiastic…

*** Update #3 ***: Cross your fingers, folks! From RedState

“Something has happened in the past ten minutes. I’ve had three five (they keep IM’ing) people from the media and conservative think tanks IM to say we’re on a wild goose chase — the conservative think tank people say its an intentional one. According to them, we should not be looking at Edith Clement, but at her cohort on the Fifth Circuit, Edith H. Jones a/k/a the Female Scalia.

My money is on Clement still, but it is interesting how, by the time I’ve finished writing this post seven people have IM’ed to say it is Jones, not Clement.”

Edith Jones gets the official Right Wing News seal of approval, which means she would be almost guaranteed to be a solid, originalist justice who’d make conservatives all across America do a snoopy dance out of pure joy.

Like I said, cross your fingers and let’s hope that if it’s an Edith, it’s the RIGHT Edith…

*** Update #4 ***: Here’s an interesting little excerpt from an old Robert Novak column about David Souter & Edith Jones. After you read it, it becomes easy to see why so many conservatives get very nervous about justices without a paper trail — like Clement:

“Three years later, Souter had a powerful sponsor: White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, who in 1983 as governor of New Hampshire had named him to the state Supreme Court. With a wink, Sununu assured everybody that Souter was a stealth conservative. It would have taken a courageous judge-vetter to contradict the imperious Sununu.

But the White House lawyer checking judges, the former Lee Lieberman, had formidable right-wing credentials. A co-founder of the Federalist Society along with the future Sen. Abraham, she had been a law clerk of Justice Antonin Scalia. Instead, she went overboard for Souter. According to Justice Department sources, she predicted he would be another Scalia. That may have clinched his selection over the conservative favorite, U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones of Houston.

The results were staggering. Had Bush the elder named Jones instead of Souter, Roe v. Wade would have been overturned. The numerous 5 to 4 votes — on abortion, school prayer, term limits and much else — would have been reversed. Instead of another Scalia, Souter duplicated the justice he replaced, William Brennan, as the court’s most automatic liberal vote.”

Hat tip to Polipundit for Novak column link.

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