Rep. Mike Pence has decided not to seek a leadership post. A "Dear Colleague" letter is circulating now.
The Spectacle Blog
Things are moving fast. No sooner does Republican Study Group Chair, Rep. Mike Pence, appear to weaken as a leadership candidate than Rep. John Boehner begins to chip away at the RSC.
This morning, Rep. Gresham Barrett (SC), a member of the group, and vice chair of the GOP class of 2004, endorsed Boehner for leader. This is significant only in that the RSC is viewed as a leading conservative base in the House.
The more moderate wing of the Republican caucus, most visibly represented by the "Tuesday Group" intends to hold interviews with both Boehner and Blunt and whomever else might choose to run for the slot at the end of the month.
Having lost his witness who was prepared to attack Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for his activities at Princeton University 30 years ago, we've learned that Sen. Patrick Leahy is looking to add a new witness to replace him.
Last Friday Leahy lost Stephen R. Dujack after it was revealed that, among other things, he equated the eating of meal with meat to the Holocaust. Dujack was a Princeton alum, who was prepared to attack Alito for his membership in a Princeton alumni group.
Now, Leahy's staff is looking to add to its panelists another Princeton alum to attack Alito for his time at Princeton: Prof. Sally Frank, currently a teacher at Drake University, and a Princeton grad in 1980. Frank was a well-known campus political activist who protested -- among other things -- apartheid in South Africa and the failure of Princeton to provide locks on bathrooms. She is best known for her lawsuits to make Princeton's famous eating clubs co-ed.
A Democratic Judiciary Committee staffer says no decision has been made on adding Frank.
This is perhaps one of the best pieces I've read on how Alito came up through the ranks. Sure, the Post is obsessed with appellation (Reagan's policies weren't just policies but conservative policies), but the Post is also familiar enough with the give and take of luck and preparation so characteristic of political grooming that it doesn't immediately attribute Alito's rise to some cabal of conservative conspirators. It also puts to rest some talking points of the left.
Whereas some people are likely to talk about his role in dismantling affirmative action, the Post evenhandedly provides evidence that Alito was no racist:
After his breakfast meeting with Judge Alito, President Bush offered praise for his nominee and guarded optimism for the hearings:
And my hope, of course, is that the American people will be impressed by the process. It's very important that members of the Senate conduct a dignified hearing. The Supreme Court is a dignified body; Sam is a dignified person. And my hope, of course, is that the Senate bring dignity to the process and give this man a fair hearing and an up or down vote on the Senate floor.
Methinks the President isn't holding his breath.
So Rep. Eric Cantor and his backers are trying to clear the field for House Republican Whip with word that he has upwards of 110 caucus member backing him. Cantor was an early dark horse for GOP Leader, and he is popular among conservatives.
It's interesting that Rep. Mike Pence has not been able to gain any traction coming out of the appropriations fight he so honorably fought.
So High Noon it is.
Word out of the White House and Capitol Hill is that Samuel Alito will most likely not go the Chief Justice Roberts route and go unscripted for his opening statement.
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter and his staff were working over the weekend to coordinate and map out what will happen today. Specter appears ready, according to sources, to push back against his liberal critics and give him some running room. We shall see.
As we learn more, we'll post more.
If I were a Senate Democrat who had it out for Judge Alito, I would keep a much better poker face than the showboaters who hit the TV studios Sunday morning. I would say I'm looking forward to hearing from the nominee, have some concerns, and remain firm but upbeat. But instead Schumer, Feinstein, Leahy, and Kennedy openly threaten a filibuster before the hearings even begin. How do they expect to be taken seriously when they show their cards before Alito's said anything in the hearings?