Patterico's Pontifications

7/8/2005

Why Alberto Gonzales Must Not Become a Justice

Filed under: Judiciary,Law — Angry Clam @ 10:51 am



[Posted by The Angry Clam]

You’ve heard myself (and others) carrying on about how awful Alberto Gonzales would be. However, the press usually dumbs down Conservative opposition to Gonzales to abortion, and, if we’re lucky, affirmative action. However, Gonzales’ dangers run far wider than that.

Among other positions, Gonzales believes:

1) That the second Amendment is a nullity, and that the Federal assault weapons ban should have been renewed.
2) Shares Bush’s open borders insanity, including having ties to groups supporting drivers licenses for illegal aliens.
3) Forced Ted Olson to praise “diversity” in Grutter and Gratz, giving the Court the political cover it needed to continue allowing racial discrimination in the United States.
4) His public support as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court for the “right” to abortion, which was invented out of whole cloth and has no mooring in the Constitution.
5) His chilling statement that ” [t]he Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is,” and his display of the arrogance of the imperial judiciary even before obtaining a seat on the bench.

Let’s consider that record. These are the major conservative issues, and Gonzales took the opposition position on every single one of them. Even Justices O’Connor and Kennedy are on the correct side of the issue from time to time. From what we can see, a Justice Gonzales would never be on the correct side of the issue. I don’t know about you, but I can live without another Earl Warren, Bill Brennan, or Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court.

So, Gonzales fans, why on earth, given all this, are we to expect that Gonzales is at all acceptable for Conservatives? Because Bush thinks he’s a good guy? Sorry, but I’m not buying into the personality cult you all have constructed around the president. Any other reasons?

38 Responses to “Why Alberto Gonzales Must Not Become a Justice”

  1. […] Regarding Attorney General Gonzales, the LA Times today has a piece today urging that he not be nominated for the Supreme Court. The LA Times is primarily concerned about the position Gonzales has taken on treatment of combatants and terrorists, pointing out that Justice Scalia has expressed similar qualms about that treatment. Different concerns about Attorney General Gonzales have been raised here at confirmthem, and also by Wesley Pruden in the Washington Times today, and furthermore at Patterico’s Potifications. […]

    Confirm Them » McConnell, Wilkinson, and Gonzales Still Raise Concerns (e203ab)

  2. Clam-bake: Good points in all respects. I think the only argument that a conservative Republican can make is a political one: that Gonzales is the moderate choice to balance out the two more conservative choices still to come. I’m not sure that this is necessary, since Republicans can get whoever they want by using the nuclear option. However, if moderate Republicans want to try to test the waters for a Guilanni-type Presidential nominee, then they might like to see what happens with a Gonzales-type SCOTUS nominee.

    Regret (22cb76)

  3. Gripes 2, 3 and 5 are legit, and should be reason enough to sink Gonzales’s (not Gonzales’, unless you’re talking about two or more guys named “Gonzale”) candidacy. The other two, 1 and 4, are bogus. As stupid as the AW ban may be, it’s a tall order to expect any President to appoint a Justice known to oppose a law supported not only by himself but by every living ex-President, and also by every ex-President who was living during any part of last year. Supporting that law is lame, but it’s hardly the same as arguing that the Second Amendment is a “nullity,” as many other judges actually have done. To equate not construing the Second Amendment broadly enough with nullifying it outright is every bit as off the deep end as it is for liberals to claim that “choice” died with Justice O’Connor’s resignation because the next Justice might bring abortion rights back down to Roe/Casey levels.

    It’s equally silly to fault Gonzales for adhering to Roe while serving on the Texas Supreme Court. What the hell else was he supposed to do? Overrule it?!

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  4. The Texas cases were about such things as parental notification, which aren’t directly governed by either Roe or Casey. Gonzales was free to do what he wished, and chose to support the invented “right.”

    Plus, there’s also always the popular “trash the predecent for 10 pages or so and then say, summarily, ‘we’re constrained and follow this,'” which is what he should have done.

    I’ll get back to you on the gun one- I’m still sourcing the report from a DOJ attorney friend that, when Gonzales took over as AG, he ordered that the “individual rights” perspective that the Ashcroft Justice Department had finally endorsed be struck from official policy, and returned to the “collective right” position.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  5. 1) he’s Mexican-American (I know, I know, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t matter…)
    2) he’s moderate. I’m moderate. There are a whole bunch of moderate Republicans that are in the party, too, and conservative Reeps need us just like we need you.
    3) He’s a realist on crime and punishment (and interrogation). He’s on my side, not the criminal’s.
    4) His personal story is compelling, and it would be good for Republicans to have more examples that don’t feed the Reep stereotype.
    5) Bush will be able to fulfill a commitment he made by making this appointment.

    GonzalesFan (a486a1)

  6. 1) So you support racism, by paying attention to the color of his skin, rather than his qualifications?

    2) What has indicated to you that he’s a “moderate” rather than a full-out liberal? Furthermore, don’t forget that “moderates” drift leftward after they get onto the court. While you might like him now, you might now like him five to ten years down the road, and then we’re stuck with the asshole. Plus, don’t forget that all the “moderate” garbage you and your fellow-travellers like can, under a conservative Supreme Court, be imposed via legislation. However, under a liberal Supreme Court, which Gonzales will be a part of, any of the conservative things you may like will be impossible to impose through legislation. Think about that.

    3) Crime and punishment, apart from execution, is a fairly minor portion of the Court’s docket.

    4) Why don’t we let his personal story stay at the Attorney General’s office? Remember, this is a position for life. It’s important that it goes to someone good. People who suck but have great “personal stories” can hang out in Congress, where they belong.

    5) What commitment? He swore that he’d appoint Justices in the mode of Scalia and Thomas, which Gonzales is definitely not. He wants to appoint a Hispanic, yes, but that’s not the same as a commitment to do so. Plus, he can do that without screwing conservatives in the ass (now constitutional) through any number of other judges, like Emilio Garza, Consuelo Callahan, or even Carlos Bea (if he wanted simply the tokenism, since Bea is old. Plus, he’s right-wing as all hell, which is nice).

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  7. The way I look at it, it’s finally Christmas and Santa’s talking about coal, or at least socks and mittens.

    Dear President Bush: why do you think we voted for you? Your budget?

    –Kevin

    Kevin Murphy (9982dd)

  8. Pat – You have changed my mind. I am now firmly against Gonzales. You were right. I was wrong. Not the first time. I also voted for Jimmy Carter and was a Democrat.

    Rod Stanton (7b6143)

  9. Any mention of abortion is a total turnoff for me. That debate was fought and lost in the 80s. Women have the right to an abortion, you lost, now move on. In the end, the voters get what they want, and they want abortion legal. Geez. This reminds me of Air America hosts droning on about how Kerry really won Ohio because of Diebold. And how Gore really won Florida…

    Shredstar (91b3b2)

  10. The voters want abortion legal, yes. They also want meaningful restrictions on abortion, such as partial-birth abortion bans.

    The latter is in danger from an overzealous Court, and which is why it matters where potential nominees stand on the issue.

    Also, if the voters are so dead set on abortion being legal, why are people so afraid that the Supreme Court will overturn the terrible reasoning that gave us Roe and it’s substantive due process progeny?

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  11. Post #2: since Republicans can get whoever they want by using the nuclear option.

    Do we know the votes are there?

    Gerald A (bdfba2)

  12. “They also want meaningful restrictions on abortion, such as partial-birth abortion bans.”

    with health exceptions?

    [With an exception for the life of the mother. Polls show overwhelming support even if no health exception is mentioned. I cited the polls the other day. — Patterico]

    actus (d1b91d)

  13. Under what circumstances is a partial-birth abortion necessary for physical health? Nearly all pregnancy-related dangers are identical with that procedure.

    More generally, physical health exceptions are acceptable. The problem is that “health exceptions” is often taken to include mental health, with the result that the restriction becomes meaningless.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  14. If Bush leads with a strong conservative as a replacement for SDO, the Dems will filibuster. If they didn’t they could lose their moonbat support forever, and they need those votes as well as any others they can get just to stay in the game.

    And then the R’s will invoke cloture, right? More than that! They will change the rules to allow for cloture whenever they want. People seem to be missing this when they look further ahead.

    Those changes will remain, making subsequent cloture hardly even a story. E.g. “Bush today nominated JRB to replace Rehnquist and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced a two-week schedule for debate before the Senate votes. Dems immediately complained that it would take longer than that, and Frist said he was willing to extend it up to three weeks, if necessary.”

    You can vary the timeframe, but the principle is clear. The Dems are between a rock and a hard place, now. The R’s only need enough support to change the rule one time. If it’s the right candidate, they’ll have it.

    All of which implies that it ain’t gonna be Gonzales in the leadoff spot. Or ever, unless Bush is really determined to help his friend even more. Cuz once the rule change is complete, Bush can add all the subsequent conservatives he likes with no need to compromise.

    All predicated on the Dems having to filibuster the first nominee, a trap they have apparently laid for themselves.

    ras (f9de13)

  15. Pat – You have changed my mind. I am now firmly against Gonzales. You were right. I was wrong. Not the first time. I also voted for Jimmy Carter and was a Democrat.

    I didn’t change your mind. The Angry Clam did. See the bit at the top of the post?

    Patterico (756436)

  16. re: #6 – Clam, I’m proud to be your straw man.:-)

    Seriously, your response did not refute my five points. My points are considerations in the real world. You are looking for objective fairness, and a validation of your beliefs with this appointment. The line for fairness and validation is almost as long as the one for free pu$$y. Bush simply asked for some restraint in the rhetoric. You (and others) can’t grant him this? And he stood up for his friend (he didn’t make friendship a prerequisite). It makes me admire Bush even more for doing so.

    The tactic to damage Gonzales might work. But you (and others) are painting Bush into a corner, and he will then have to prove that he is not beholden. We shall see, in the fullness of time…

    GonzalesFan (9d74a3)

  17. Angry Clam – I apologize for not reading your by line.
    You changed my mind. I still think Pat is OK.
    As an ex auditor (37 years ago) I am embarased beyond words for this sloppy reading on my part.
    Thank you very much for providing me the information I needed and still need.
    Must be my old eyes.

    Rod Stanton (7b6143)

  18. I don’t want Bush to have what he wants. If he gets his “tone down” way, he’ll think that he’ll be able to get away with nominating Gonzales.

    Besides, if that fool has his mind made up on this, some random psycho on the internet (me) isn’t going to change it.

    However, he needs senators to get with him on this. And they tend to listen closely to what people tell them, particularly when they’ve got their eye on 2008. Furthermore, they had better fucking be beholden to us- unlike Bush, most of them are going to be up for re-election.

    Nothing would delight me more than seeing Gonzales be rejected by the senate after a nomination- that would be a message that even our President could not ignore.

    I’m friends with a number of pretty far left attorneys myself. If they’re ever up for a judicial appointment, I would do everything in my ability to prevent that appointment despite my friendship. Some battles, such as this one, are far more important.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  19. Rathergate Anniversary – 61 days and counting – a

    The blog explosion that followed Rathergate makes it possible to achieve even greater things in the blogosphere. The Supreme Court nomination battle . . . . . . . . .

    Anita Hill would not have lasted a weekend with the new media on her case.

    The Cassandra Page (59ce3a)

  20. “With an exception for the life of the mother. Polls show overwhelming support even if no health exception is mentioned. ”

    What if the fact that a health exception is excluded is mentioned?

    actus (3014c7)

  21. Dunno, but I’ll bet any poll that tested for that, doesn’t explain how manipulable “health exceptions” are — with many doctors perfectly willing to deem a “health risk” the intense psychological harm that comes with not being able to choose the scissors-in-the-skull route.

    Patterico (756436)

  22. “with many doctors perfectly willing to deem a “health risk” the intense psychological harm that comes with not being able to choose the scissors-in-the-skull rout”

    I think people consider health risks to be what doctors tell them health risks are.

    actus (54a28a)

  23. Yup. And if a woman really wants a late-term abortion, perhaps because she put it off, and a doctor wants to do it via the scissors-in-the-skull route, he’ll tell her it’s a (psychological) health risk not to. And she’ll be eager to comply, even though it’s bullshit.

    What a shame the poll respondents weren’t told about the health exception.

    Patterico (756436)

  24. “What a shame the poll respondents weren’t told about the health exception.”

    Right. Cuz then we won’t know whether people think we should restrict abortions in such a way as to create health risks to the mother.

    actus (54a28a)

  25. Right. To which point I have responded; with you utterly missing the sarcasm (or pretending to).

    Patterico (756436)

  26. “Right. To which point I have responded; with you utterly missing the sarcasm (or pretending to). ”

    I just don’t see the sarcasm in wanting to know what the public thinks of exposing pregnant women to health risks.

    actus (54a28a)

  27. Let me try to say this so you can understand it, since my attempt to say it before evidently went over your head.

    If someone wants to do a poll that makes it clear that the so-called health risks involved include the doctor’s subjective and unreviewable opinion that the woman will suffer psychological harm, even when there is no physical danger, then I’d love to see the results. Maybe you can go conduct the poll and let us know how it comes out.

    But having a poll that just alludes to “health risks” without explaining that would be highly misleading and worthless.

    Patterico (756436)

  28. I just don’t see the sarcasm in wanting to know what the public thinks of exposing pregnant women to health risks.

    Only because you insist on hanging your hat on an undefined variable. How about we try two more polls, one of which offers an exception only where failure to perform the procedure would put the mother in danger of death or serious physical injury, and the other allowing an exception where the woman can convince at least one licensed M.D. that “not getting this abortion would, like, totally suck.”

    Xrlq (158f18)

  29. “But having a poll that just alludes to “health risks” without explaining that would be highly misleading and worthless.”

    Like I said, I don’t think its misleading to people that the definition of health risks includes what your doctor tells you is unhealthy.

    actus (54a28a)

  30. It is, because most people would never guess that “I’d feel upset if I can’t abort this thing” qualifies as a “health” risk.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  31. “It is, because most people would never guess that “I’d feel upset if I can’t abort this thing” qualifies as a “health” risk”

    Are mental health risks the same as feeling upset?

    actus (54a28a)

  32. In this context, I believe they are.

    Patterico (756436)

  33. Around the Blogosphere

    Menacing Dennis PoliBlog Broadband over power lines I’ve been told about this before. Sounds interesting Myopic Zeal…

    Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis) (807fbc)

  34. “In this context, I believe they are.”

    Then the state of psychology and psyachiatry are in worse shape then tom cruise claims they are.

    actus (cd484e)

  35. But you see, that’s the problem with the “mental health” portion of the exception- it doesn’t require referral to a specialist. Rather, the abortion provider him/herself gets to make that call.

    Do you seriously believe that this exception, with no way of confirming and no visibile symptoms to point to, is not being used to remove any actual restrictions on late-term abortions that are written into the law?

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  36. Actus has a vivid imagination and believes there is some clinical diagnosis of being psychologically unable to withstand carrying a baby to term but being able to psychologically withstand carrying it to within a week or two of term and then having it aborted. This exemplifies the unreality of how liberals discuss abortion.

    Gerald A (bdfba2)

  37. More than that: he believes there is some clinical diagnosis of being psychologically unable to withstand aborting a baby by dismembering it in the womb — but being able to psychologically withstand having a doctor abort it by stabbing in the skull after it is mostly born, and sucking out its brains with a suction catheter.

    Patterico (a0d2f4)

  38. SCOTUS Picks

    My opinion, not being a lawyer and all, is a simple one. I’d like Bush to pick someone that sticks to the Constitution.
    …of the United States.
    Not the U.N.. I don’t want one that looks to international law for his/her decision. Or …

    Mind of Mog (41253b)


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