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HUMAN EVENTS Asks GOP Senators:Must Bush Name a Woman to Replace O√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨√Ę‚??¬ĘConnor?

Has President Bush ruled out naming a male to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor?

On his radio program, James Dobson of Focus on the Family revealed the substance of a conversation he had had with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. Rove told him, said Dobson, that some potential candidates for the court had removed their names from consideration because they did not want to subject themselves or their family to the confirmation process and that the President had been determined to name only a woman to replace O’Connor.

“He also made it clear that the President was looking for a certain kind of candidate, namely a woman, to replace Justice O’Connor,” said Dobson. “And you can imagine what that did to the short list. That cut it by—I haven’t looked at who I think might have been on that short list, because Karl didn’t tell me who was not willing to be considered—but that may have cut it by 80% right there.”

Immediately after the White House announced yesterday that Harriet Miers had withdrawn her nomination, HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor Amanda Carpenter asked Republican senators if they believed the President should name only a woman to replace O’Connor.


Senator, a quick question—

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R.-S.C.): I’m not making any statements at this time.


Karl Rove has told James Dobson that President Bush was determined to name a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you believe the President should name only a woman to her seat?

SEN. JOHN SUNUNU (R.-N.H.): I don’t think that should make any difference in the process.


Karl Rove told James Dobson that the President was intent on naming a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you think the President should be bound to do this in the next nomination?

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R.-VA.): Let me make this statement. First, as far as Harriet Miers, I think she made the right decision and I appreciate it and she will continue to serve this country and the White House very ably.

Now, the President needs to nominate a person with a record that clearly and demonstrably and convincingly shows that they are going to be a judge who, when they put on that robe for a lifetime appointment, will not be inventing the law, will not be amending the Constitution by judicial decree. I hope the President will move expeditiously to nominate such a person. In the event that the President wishes to nominate a woman, or a man, what matters most to me is their judicial philosophy.

It should be shown from this exercise, and scrutiny of this nominee, that those of us who are conservatives want to see judges who understand what their role is, not to legislate from the bench. We need to make sure that person has a proven record of performance. It may be that they have judicial experience, but if they don’t have judicial experience, then they must have a record of advocacy or scholarship on such matters because this is a crucial vacancy on the Supreme Court.


Karl Rove told James Dobson that President Bush was intent on naming a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you think the President should name only a woman to this seat?

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R.-GA.): I think he ought to name the best available person. That’s what I said before he named her and I still feel that way. If she’s a female, fine, I’m happy with that.

Do you think he should name someone with a record of advocacy, or very clear record of writings or something like this we can look to?

CHAMBLISS: Again, if that’s the best person, fine. But I don’t think there ought to be a litmus test for somebody. We just need the person who is most qualified.


Karl Rove told James Dobson that President Bush was determined to name a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you think the President should name only a woman to this seat?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R.-ARIZ.): I can’t tell the President what to do. I really can’t. That’s why he’s President.


I understand you think it might be premature to speculate who the President might pick for the next nomination, but previous statements through James Dobson say the President was intent on naming a woman. Do you feel that should be a factor in the next nomination?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R.-MAINE): I would like to see a woman nominated, but that is not the No. 1 criterion for me. I want the best possible nominee and that’s what I would continue to urge the President to seek out.

Would you like to see someone with a clear record?

COLLINS: I’ve got to go back to an Armed Services meeting.


Karl Rove told James Dobson that the President was determined to name a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you think this should be factor in the next nomination?

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R.-S.D.): I don’t subscribe to that notion. I think you want to get the best-qualified person, but I understand they are trying to maintain some of the existing balance on the court. Is it a prerequisite? Not necessarily, but I think it’s probably desirable to put somebody out that’s qualified to do it.

Would you like to see someone with a clear record of advocacy?

THUNE: I would like to see somebody who is a clear constitutionalist and someone who has demonstrated by their judicial history, if it’s a judge, that they’re willing to apply the law and not make the law. I think what we’ve said all along is we want an umpire, and I think that the next selection, whoever that is, should be somebody who is in that mold. I’m hopeful the President will give us someone who is in the mold of a Scalia or a Thomas, and I expect that is what we will see.


Karl Rove told James Dobson that the President was determined to name a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you believe the President should name only a woman to the court?

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R.-MAINE): Oh, I think it is important for the President to name a woman to the court. I do.

Would you like to see someone with a clear record?

SNOWE: I want somebody who is obviously qualified and has a clear understanding of judicial philosophy and temperament and positions regarding precedent.


Karl Rove told James Dobson that President Bush was intent on naming a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you believe the President should name only a woman?

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R.-GA.): I think the President should name the most qualified person he believes. Obviously, with Sandra Day O’Connor stepping down, being that she was the first woman there, there would be a lot of sentiment to do that. However, we’ve seen that justices, openings for justices, can come quicker than you might sometimes think, and I think we don’t need to start stereotyping seats with types of people—ethnicity or race or religion or sex. In the end, it always ought to be the most qualified person. If John Roberts had an identical twin sister who was a lawyer, that would probably be the ideal appointment.

Would you like to see someone with a clear record of advocacy?

ISAKSON: A clear record of advocacy?

I mean, someone who demonstrated he or she was a conservative.

ISAKSON: I never thought that Harriet Miers didn’t have that myself. I mean, that’s why you asked the question, I think. I certainly hope the President will appoint somebody representative of the conservative philosophy, but when you talk about a jurist, if they’ve been on the bench, the last thing in the world you want is an activist and I think advocacy portends activism, so it just depends on the nature of the person. I thought Harriet Miers was a very qualified individual. I am sure the President will make another nomination that will be as qualified and I look forward to it.


James Dobson was told that the President was intent on naming a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. Do you think this will or should be a factor in naming the next justice?

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R.-ALA.): That will be a factor—that he would like to probably see a woman. My advice to him would be to consider that factor because there are a lot of talented women out there. Ultimately, he wants to nominate someone that he has confidence in, shares his philosophy, can articulate it in a way the American people can understand and be able to win support in the Senate. You know how you get support in the Senate? The best way to get support in the Senate is to have support in the country, and if the American people are for you, senators are less likely to vote against you.

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Written By

Miss Carpenter was formerly a congressional correspondent & assistant editor for HUMAN EVENTS. She is the author of "The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Rodham Clinton," published by Regnery (a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

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