He is David Hackett Souter, only the most recent reason Republican presidents — especially Republican presidents named “Bush” — have lost the right to say “Trust me” when it comes to Supreme Court nominations.
The other reasons are: Earl Warren, William Brennan, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy.
Like John Roberts, Souter attended church regularly. Souter was also touted for his great intellect. He went to Harvard! And Harvard Law! (Since when does that impress right-wingers? So did Larry Tribe. It is one of the eternal mysteries of the world that liberals are good test-takers.)
At least when Souter was nominated, we needed a stealth nominee. The Senate was majority Democrat back then. The Judiciary Committee consisted of eight Democrats and six Republicans — two of whom were aggressively pro-abortion. A year later, faced with the same Democratic Senate, the current president’s father nominated Clarence Thomas. Who would have thought the current Bush would be less macho than his father?
Roberts would have been a fine candidate for a Senate in Democratic hands. But now we have 55 Republican seats in the Senate and the vice president to cast a deciding vote — and Son of Read-My-Lips gives us another ideological blind date.
Fifty-five seats means every single Democrat in the Senate could vote against a Republican Supreme Court nominee — highly unlikely considering some of those Democrats are up for election next year — along with John McCain, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee. We would still win.
Of course it’s possible that Roberts will buck history — all known human history when it comes to the Supreme Court — and be another Scalia or Thomas. (And we’ll hear this news while attending a World Series game between the Cubs and, oh, say … the Detroit Tigers.)
That will not retrospectively alter the fact that Bush and all the other Zarathushtra Republicans cheering for Roberts haven’t the first idea what kind of justice Roberts will be right now. They are telling us their hopes and dreams.
I share their hopes and dreams! I also hope it doesn’t rain in August. I’m not throwing out all my umbrellas, and I won’t be “proved wrong” in that decision even if the rain never comes. This is a fact: Right now, we don’t know.
Republicans are desperately trying to convince themselves that Roberts will be different because they want to believe Bush wouldn’t let us down on the Supreme Court. Somewhere in America a woman is desperately trying to convince herself that her husband won’t hit her again because he told her “things are going to be different this time.”
Bush said “Trust me,” and Republicans trust him. It shouldn’t be difficult for conservatives to convince themselves that Roberts is our man. They’ve had practice convincing themselves of the same thing with Warren, Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens, O’Connor, Kennedy and Souter.