So expect Democrats to stage a last stand against any Bush nominee right of Ted Kennedy. Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Schumer has already been heard to say “We are contemplating how we are going to go to war over this.” This before any names have been put forward. From the Washington Post
Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate.
Whoever the nominee is.
While Roe vs. Wade is not in danger of being overturned if a pro-life Justice gets in, the left is playing it that way despite still having five votes for abortion. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NOW, Feminist Majority Foundation, and The National Abortion Rights Action League are all saying that if Bush puts in an originalist, someone who will interpret the Constitution based on what it says, a woman’s right to choose is in jeopardy. The media, BTW, is very pro-abortion. Will Bush nominate a strict originalist that might place limits on abortion or actually overturn Roe vs. Wade? Ed Kilgore believes he must.
This appointment represents the giant balloon payment at the end of the mortgage the GOP signed with the Cultural Right at least 25 years ago. Social conservatives have agreed over and over again to missed payments, refinancings, and in their view, generous terms, but the balance is finally due, and if Bush doesn't pay up, they'll foreclose their entire alliance with the Republican Party.
Sure, they care about other issues, from gay marriage to taxes to Iraq, but abortion is the issue that makes most Cultural Right activists get up in the morning and stuff envelopes and staff phone banks for the GOP. And for decades now, Republicans have told them they can't do anything much about it until they can change the Supreme Court. With a pro-choice Justice stepping down, the subject can no longer be avoided. And thanks to the Souter precedent (and indeed, the O'Connor and Kennedy precedents), there's no way Bush can finesse an appointment that's anything less than a guaranteed vote to overturn Roe.
So expect all these forces to be unleashed when the first nominee is put forward. The left expects to pick the nominee and is even saying it has to be consulted about the nominees according to the Constitution. Of course that’s not what the Constitution actually says. Article II, Section 2 says the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint" judges. Advice and Consent after nomination. This is how libs play fast and loose with the Constitution. It’s as if they still don’t get the fact that they lost last November. As for picking the choice Alexander Hamilton once stated
There will, of course, be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves choose - they can only ratify or reject the choice of the President.
However the Senate will not get to ratify or reject the President’s choice because the liberal minority will filibuster. We will need to go nuclear.