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Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice ?

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Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice ?

Old 11-08-04, 09:16 AM
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Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice ?

Admittedly, even liberal me takes Druge info with a sceptical grain of salt, but here's what they're reporting this morning:


BUSH CONSIDERS CLARENCE THOMAS FOR CHIEF JUSTICE

**Exclusive**

President Bush has launched an internal review of the pros and cons of nominating Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as the chief justice if ailing William Rehnquist retires, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

A top White House source familiar with Bush's thinking explains the review of Thomas as chief justice is one of several options currently under serious consideration. But Thomas is Bush's personal favorite to take the position, the source claims.

"It would not only be historic, to nominate a minority as chief justice, symbolizing the president's strong belief in hope and optimism, but it would be a sound judicial move.... Justice Thomas simply has an extraordinary record."

One concern is the amount of political capital Bush would have to spend in congress to make the move.

A chief justice must be separately nominated by Bush and confirmed by the Senate, even if the person is already sitting on the court.

The need to replace Rehnquist could arise by year's end, Bush aides now believe.

Officially, Bush advisers call any Supreme Court vacancy talk premature.


Thoughts on this?
Old 11-08-04, 09:20 AM
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As long as he can continue to refrain from describing his penis within the majority decisions, I have no issues.
Old 11-08-04, 09:26 AM
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Originally posted by BigPete
As long as he can continue to refrain from describing his penis within the majority decisions, I have no issues.
BigPete, the "DVD Talk Endowed Member" has spoken.


Old 11-08-04, 09:37 AM
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It would be nice for a minority to get that title..... hey if he earned it..... then why not
Old 11-08-04, 09:40 AM
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Why would it be nice? I think it should be irrelevant what color he is. Let his record speak for itself.
Old 11-08-04, 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by raven56706
It would be nice for a minority to get that title..... hey if he earned it..... then why not

I must be missing something - perhaps you could explain to me exactly what he has done to earn the highest and most prestigeous judicial post our country can bestow?
Old 11-08-04, 09:44 AM
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Not gonna happen.
Old 11-08-04, 09:50 AM
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I think Thomas is Bush's #1 choice to become Chief. I just don't see it happening though. I don't see Senate Democrats going for it unless he puts a moderate in the open seat vacated by Thomas.

Interesting commentary about this possibility a few weeks ago in the Wash Post:

A Big Question About Clarence Thomas

By Douglas T. Kendall
Thursday, October 14, 2004; Page A31

A little-noticed bombshell was dropped by Justice Antonin Scalia in a recently released biography of Justice Clarence Thomas. It poses an interesting dilemma for President Bush this election season, in that it raises the question of whether he should continue to cite Thomas as one of his model Supreme Court justices.

The evidence, of course, suggests that a repudiation of Thomas by the president is extremely unlikely. Indeed, Ken Foskett, the author of "Judging Thomas: The Life and Times of Clarence Thomas," claims that top Bush administration officials have discussed with Thomas the possibility of his succeeding William Rehnquist as chief justice.

But Scalia's pointed comments to Foskett complicate Bush's support for Thomas considerably. Specifically, Scalia told Foskett that Thomas "doesn't believe in stare decisis, period." Clarifying his remark, Scalia added that "if a constitutional line of authority is wrong, he would say let's get it right. I wouldn't do that."

Stare decisis is a fancy Latin term that stands for a bedrock proposition of U.S. law: that the Supreme Court will uphold precedent and not disturb settled law without special justification. As Justice Thurgood Marshall explained for the court in 1986, stare decisis is the "means by which we ensure that the law will not merely change erratically, but will develop in a principled and intelligible fashion."

Four years ago, Rehnquist echoed Marshall in a case that reaffirmed the Miranda warning given before police interrogations, stating that stare decisis "carries such persuasive force that we have always required a departure from precedent to be supported by some 'special justification.' "

Stare decisis is not and should not be an ironclad rule -- otherwise Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld segregation, would still be on the books. But almost everyone agrees that respect for the doctrine is indispensable for a Supreme Court justice. As Thomas himself explained at his confirmation hearing, "stare decisis provides continuity to our system, it provides predictability, and in our process of case-by-case decision making, I think it is a very important and critical concept."

It is unlikely that any nominee of any president would be confirmed to the Supreme Court if he or she admitted to a disbelief in the doctrine of established case law. Court watchers know that Scalia's statement about Thomas goes to the heart of a jurisprudential chasm that separates the court's two most conservative justices. Scalia is fiercely conservative, but by and large he judges within the parameters of the rules laid down by predecessors. Thomas rarely appears to feel so confined.

The proof is in 35 lone Thomas opinions that express a willingness to reexamine a breathtaking range of well-settled constitutional law. A little-known but telling example is a 1998 opinion by Thomas that expresses a willingness to reexamine the court's opinion in Calder v. Bull, which decided that the Constitution's prohibition against retroactive punishments applies only to criminal (not civil) laws. Regardless of what one thinks of the merits of the case, it is a unanimous 1798 opinion by the court that has not been seriously challenged in more than 200 years. It is the dictionary definition of established case law.

Far better known is Thomas's concurrence in United States v. Lopez, where, alone among the justices, he expressed a willingness to reexamine fundamental aspects of the court's jurisprudence under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. This clause -- granting Congress the authority to regulate commerce "among the several states" -- is the principal power used by the federal government to protect civil rights, worker safety and the environment. Thomas's views, if adopted by the court, would call into question fundamental statutes in all these areas. As Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted in a separate opinion, "the Court as an institution and the legal system as a whole have an immense stake in the stability of our Commerce Clause jurisprudence as it has evolved to this point. Stare decisis operates with great force in counseling us not to call in question the essential principles now in place respecting the congressional power to regulate transactions of a commercial nature."

Reading a Thomas opinion can feel like hitting 100 mph on a deserted highway: thrilling (or terrifying, depending on your perspective) but still a bad idea. The excitement of approaching every constitutional question anew comes at the cost of a stab to our constitutional tradition. No president should accept this trade-
Old 11-08-04, 09:55 AM
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I said it would be nice to see a minority but i said it hey if he earned it..... if he didnt earn it.... then no way


Plus i am a minority. I am sometimes proud to see minoritys have some strong jobs in society... thats all.... But if their record sucks..... then hell no.

Geez guys.... dont choke me for that
Old 11-08-04, 09:56 AM
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My personal wish is for Scalia to be elevated, only so I can see him OWN Senate Democrats in the confirmation hearings.
Old 11-08-04, 09:56 AM
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Mind you people i said if he earned it.....
Old 11-08-04, 09:59 AM
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Earned, schmearned. What does it take to 'earn' being appointed Chief Justice? Did Rehnquist earn it? Did Warren Burger earn it? Did Earl Warren earn it?

Also, keep in mind that all but a few Chief Justices were not Associate Justices prior to their appointment.
Old 11-08-04, 10:04 AM
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oh boy... hey red dog...... if his record shows he did a good job .... why would he not be qualified...... i am totally not understanding what you are getting at?
Old 11-08-04, 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by raven56706
oh boy... hey red dog...... if his record shows he did a good job .... why would he not be qualified...... i am totally not understanding what you are getting at?

It was simply a question to those who believe someone must earn the appointment - what constitutes earning it?
Old 11-08-04, 10:11 AM
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gotcha.......and i come in peace
Old 11-08-04, 10:18 AM
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Scalia has been on the court longer than anyone except O'Connor and Stevens. O'Connor hasn't been a reliable conservative on the court, so I would expect the Chief Justice's seat to go to Scalia before it went to Thomas.
Old 11-08-04, 10:26 AM
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Originally posted by aintnosin
Scalia has been on the court longer than anyone except O'Connor and Stevens. O'Connor hasn't been a reliable conservative on the court, so I would expect the Chief Justice's seat to go to Scalia before it went to Thomas.

That variable isn't as important as you think. For one thing, Thomas is younger so he will likely be on the Court longer from this point on. Two, Bush likes Thomas more. Three, the President probably feels that he can score political pts (and historcial pts) by nominating a minority to the seat and making it harder for Democrats to attack Thomas.
Old 11-08-04, 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
My personal wish is for Scalia to be elevated, only so I can see him OWN Senate Democrats in the confirmation hearings.
I agree, Mr. Cheney's duck huntin' buddy is the man for the job.
Old 11-08-04, 11:28 AM
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I guess "political capital" is shaping up to be this season's overused political buzzword (or buzzphrase, as the case may be).

I don't see Bush fighting to elevate Thomas. There's too much to lose and not enough to gain. I think it's more likely that he'll nominate a different conservative and fight that fight. I'm thinking Alberto Gonzales, or maybe the administration will decide to press the issue with Miguel Estrada.
Old 11-08-04, 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by JasonF
I'm thinking Alberto Gonzales, or maybe the administration will decide to press the issue with Miguel Estrada.

I believe that Estrada will be the choice because of his legal, political, and ethnic background. If not Estrada, then Emilio Garza. I believe that Gonzales is the fallback choice. This is assuming we are talking a Rehnquist vacancy.
Old 11-08-04, 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
I believe that Estrada will be the choice because of his legal, political, and ethnic background. If not Estrada, then Emilio Garza. I believe that Gonzales is the fallback choice. This is assuming we are talking a Rehnquist vacancy.
Garza's another good choice for the Chief Justice seat. The thing that makes me hesitant about Estrada is the fact that he was already filibustered once. Of course, the intervening election obviously strengthened the GOP's position in the Senate. In any event, I definitely see Bush nominating a minority, probably a Latino, and probably not someone already on the Court.
Old 11-08-04, 11:57 AM
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God help us.
Old 11-08-04, 12:00 PM
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I don't see why the Bush admin would pick Estrada, it would be embarrassing if the pick gets shot down a second time by a senate filibuster. It doesn't seem like a necessary gamble.
Old 11-08-04, 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by Ranger
I don't see why the Bush admin would pick Estrada, it would be embarrassing if the pick gets shot down a second time by a senate filibuster. It doesn't seem like a necessary gamble.

What gamble? What does Bush have to lose? If anything he gains by demonstrating that Democrats are being unreasonable a 2nd time, which they are.

Now Estrada on the other hand - he may not wish to go through this nonsense again.
Old 11-08-04, 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by marty888
I must be missing something - perhaps you could explain to me exactly what he has done to earn the highest and most prestigeous judicial post our country can bestow?
Basically the same thing that any of the other 8 justices on the court has done.

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