(left to right: Cornyn, Wilkinson, Gonzales, Kozinski)
Okay, I'm finally getting around to writing about the people I believe would be acceptable Justices of the Supreme Court. Keep in mind that there are countless moderate/liberal judges I would like to see on the court, but we're talking about who Bush may appoint that wouldn't be as bad as some other possibilities. So I've picked four, and I'll talk about them a little bit...
Hey, I've got a fun idea! Let's go in alphabetic order! (Okay, maybe not fun...but easy for me...)
JOHN CORNYN: Senator John Cornyn, aged 53, of Texas is a conservative, make no mistake about it. In the Senate he has been a Bush rubber-stamp, but on the highest court, it could be different. Cornyn was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1990, and again in 1996. He was elected Attorney General in 1998, and now, since his 2002 election to the Senate, sit on the Judiciary Committee. On the court, Cornyn was a moderate. He regularly clashed with the conservative leaders on the court, with one notable example being 1995, when Cornyn wrote the majority opinion upholding Texas's "Robin Hood Law," where rich school districts have to share their money with poor districts. Texas Republicans have tried to overturn it ever since. On another note, a Senator nominee would make a confirmation easier, as the Senate is the world's most exclusive "Gentlemens' Club."
ALBERTO GONZALES: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, age 49, is a moderate with a record to prove it. While on the Texas Supreme Court, he supported abortion rights and affirmative action, two issues Conservatives traditionally are against. If the president nominated Gonzales, he would be attacked from both sides; Conservatives would say he's too moderate on the aforementioned issues. Liberals would pounce on the Abu Ghraib scandal in which it is believed Gonzalesplayed a major role. But when people ask for someone in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, they seem to be speaking of Gonzales. If he is nominated, it will be a true test not only of Bush's dwindling "political capital," but also if Bill Frist can keep a big, rowdy bunch of Republicans all in lockstep.
ALEX KOZINSKI: Judge Alex Kozinski, 55 years old, from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, is quite a character. When writing opinions, he makes them read like novels--interesting and comedic at times. He has been featured in publications such as Slate Magazine, The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The National Review. He is a rabid questioner, which can sometimes take lawyers off guard (always a good thing). He is also a libertarian, moderate on issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and so forth. He is an avid 2nd amendement supporter, so that would keep Conservatives happy. But the question remains if he is too charismatic and too much of a character for the Supreme Court.
J. HARVIE WILKINSON, III: Judge Harvie Wilkinson, 61, from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, is likely the most conservative choice on my list. I don't agree with him very much at all. But he's such a likable guy. Like his mentor, Justice Lewis F. Powell, he is friendly and courteous from the bench. He does have a strong civil rights record, as he was the Number 2 official in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Department from 1982-1983. He ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in 1970, in Virginia, so his party affiliation is definitly not in question. But, even though I don't agree with him, he is a Commonsense Conservative (unlike the president), and he is extremely intelligent. While Bush may shy away from him because of his age, he would be a reasonable choice for the court.
So, there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. Sure, there's no one on the same calibur as Thurgood Marshall or William O. Douglas, heck, not even Byron White. But they're all extremely qualified, and, barring some revelations I don't know about, would be acceptable Supreme Court Justices.
BILL CLINTON 2.0
I'll have my final article about the furutre of Democratic presidential nominees very soon. The subject: Governor Mark Warner.