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Thursday, October 27, 2005

BUSH'S BEST BET: It seems to me the president's strongest suit for the Supreme Court vacancy is to nominate one of the appellate justices confirmed by a majority of the current term of the United States Senate. If these judges were qualified to make it to the appellate bench, how can they not be suited to the Supreme Court? True, many of the senators who opposed them the first time will oppose them again. Janice Rogers Brown — who served on California's highest court — was confirmed by a vote of 56-43. (One Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, joined the Senate's 55 Republicans in voting to confirm Brown. The other 43 Democrats voted against her. Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) didn't vote.) How many Democrats — the party that claims to speak for civil rights and women's rights — would dare oppose Janice Rogers Brown? All 43? If so, Brown gets confirmed handily. Conservatives who rightly take exception to Bush's domestic spending spree must in all honesty acknowledge that the Miers nomination was the single exception to Bush's remarkable record of nominating judges who are faithful to the Constitution. Janice Rogers Brown would be a powerful nominee who would mobilize conservatives eager to support the president they reluctantly opposed over Miers. Priscilla R. Owen of Texas would likewise be a strong choice. I'm not wild about changing Senate rules via the so-called Constitutional Option. But I'm even less wild about game playing that keeps deserving candidates from getting an up or down vote. If the Democrats filibuster, the GOP majority should do what's required to break the logjam. This time, the so-called Gang of 14 must be held to account. They must be given to understand (Lindsay Graham, are you listening?) that their play period is over.