Preemptive Attack:

Anticipating the death or retirement of Chief Justice Rehnquist, 43 of the Senate??¢â???¬â???¢s 44 Democrats joined with Independent Sen. James Jeffords (Vt.) in a letter to President Bush arrogantly demanding he consult with them before filling any Supreme Court vacancy.

??¢â???¬?????The way to avoid the divisiveness and discord that occurred over past judicial nominations is through consensus and cooperation in the selection of future candidates,??¢â???¬  said the letter. ??¢â???¬?????All the President has to do is seek out his preferred non-ideological choices, ask us about them, and listen to our answers,??¢â???¬  Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) told the Associated Press. Basically, the Democrats are saying Bush should give them a veto over a Republican President??¢â???¬â???¢s nominations when a 55-member Republican majority controls the Senate. (Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia was the only Democrat not signing the letter because, he said, he wants to send his own letter saying the same thing.)