“Ideologically, the two men are very similar. They are similar in temperament, and style,” says the White House staffer. “And it just felt right. Roberts is a man who served this Chief Justice ably, and who became his friend. Rehnquist was pleased with his initial nomination, and I’m sure he’s pleased with this change in nomination.”
In terms of slotting ideological soul mate for similar soul mate, the Roberts elevation makes it even more difficult for Democrats to block this nomination, and it again opens up an opportunity to bring balance to the Court after decades of liberal imbalance.
The thinking among those in the know or almost-know is that the Bush team is again looking at a list of potential nominees heavily weighted toward conservatives, with a few women in the mix.
One name almost assuredly not on the list right now is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, particularly after his remarks last week in which he seemed to give Democrats cover to push the boundaries in questioning Roberts. Gonzales said he believed it “appropriate” for the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Judge Roberts about his personal views on abortion.
That said, according to White House sources, there remains interest in putting Gonzales on the court should the opportunity arise, after satisfying the conservative base, to make yet another “historic” nomination for Attorney General. “But the thinking there is that those moves won’t happen for another year,” says an outside adviser to the White House on such matters.
Right now, the name being strategically dropped in some White House advisory circles is Judge Edith Jones. Jones’s name took on increased traction late in the O’Connor search process, and the thinking is that while she has an extensive paper trail in the federal judicial system, she is not well known in Washington circles.
Judge Edith Clement was believed to be the White House’s first pick for the O’Connor seat. Her name is not believed to be on the short-list, according to White House and outside sources who have advised the White House in the past on such matters. “That may be because she is known from the first round of vetting,” says an outside source. “It may be because there were issues that arose last time out. Given how this White House operates, no one should read anything into it until the actual announcement is made.”p> FRISKED BY FRIST
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