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Reid recommends three GOP senators for Supreme Court

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.knoxstudio.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=COURT-06-28-05&cat=PP Reid recommends three GOP senators for Supreme Court By MARGARET TALEV McClatchy Newspapers
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2005
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      http://www.knoxstudio.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=COURT-06-28-05&cat=PP

      Reid recommends three GOP senators for Supreme Court

      By MARGARET TALEV
      McClatchy Newspapers
      June 28, 2005

      WASHINGTON - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said
      Tuesday he is recommending at least three Republican
      senators, all lawyers with anti-abortion records, as
      nominees in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy.

      Reid's remarks to reporters at the Capitol seemed to
      catch a wide range of interests off guard, from
      liberal and conservative social activists preparing to
      campaign for or against potential nominees, to the
      senators themselves - Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike
      DeWine of Ohio and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

      While Reid, D-Nev., opposes abortion, he represents a
      party that supports what it considers a woman's
      personal choice and aligns itself with activist
      organizations that have made the upholding of Roe v
      Wade a rallying cry when it comes to court nominees.
      "There are people who serve in the Senate now, who are
      Republicans, who I think would be outstanding Supreme
      Court members," Reid said. "If you want names, I'll
      give you names."

      A Reid spokeswoman later confirmed the minority leader
      was serious about endorsing those candidates.

      The White House has not released a short list of
      potential nominees, but the three senators Reid
      mentioned are not among a dozen or so that insiders
      believe the president is considering. Two who are -
      Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona - are
      not men Reid has said he would support. Other
      potential nominees include sitting judges and private
      attorneys with government experience.

      Martinez and DeWine represent swing states. DeWine
      took heat from conservatives last month for joining a
      bipartisan group of 14 senators that preserved
      Democrats' right to filibuster judicial nominees in
      "extraordinary" cases in exchange for confirming
      several contested appellate bench nominees. It was not
      immediately clear how the senators might handle
      abortion in a judicial, rather than a political,
      context.

      It also was unclear whether Reid expected the names he
      floated to get any traction; whether he considers them
      more ideologically liberal than others Bush might
      favor; or if he simply was making a gesture to show
      Democrats want to find a middle ground.

      There is no vacancy yet on the nine-member court, but
      some court watchers expect at least one justice to
      step down as soon as this summer - Chief Justice
      William Rehnquist, who has cancer, or possibly Sandra
      Day O'Connor or John Paul Stevens. No resignations
      were announced on Monday, when the court adjourned
      until October.

      "My first reaction is they're known as pretty
      conservative in their voting records," said Gary Marx
      of the Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative
      group, said of Reid's recommendations. Marx predicted
      liberal activists would not embrace the senators.
      "This would be the greatest betrayal of their minority
      leader to his base, if he would support any of them,"
      he said.

      Representatives for two of the leading liberal groups,
      the Alliance for Justice and People for the American
      Way, did not immediately respond.

      DeWine press secretary Jeff Sadosky said the senator
      "thoroughly enjoys serving as senator from Ohio and
      plans to run for re-election, and has no interest in
      the Supreme Court position whatsoever." A Crapo
      spokeswoman said the high court was "not something
      that he has considered" but that he was "honored that
      Senator Reid would think so highly of him." Martinez's
      office did not release a statement.

      Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he
      would consider cutting short senators' month-long
      August recess to expedite confirmation hearings, if a
      vacancy occurs and the president wants to move
      quickly. Frist said he's been advised by experts not
      to allow "a lot of dead time" because it "will be
      filled either with an attack that can't be defended or
      by the outside airwaves."
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