Mr. President, please reject the Left’s current efforts to influence your selection to fill O’Connor’s seat. I can assure you, as someone who was involved in vetting judicial candidates under President Reagan, that these are nothing more than sucker punches. Your political enemies wish you ill. Witness how these same voices seek to exploit politically this natural disaster.
Your conservative base has stood with you, Mr. President, through thick and thin. Many of us have had to hold our noses — often and hard — on issues like the new prescription-drug entitlement, federalizing local education, expanding farm subsidies, a pork-laden transportation bill, and immigration. But we could always count on you to defend the integrity of the judiciary with the appointment of solid originalists who embrace the Constitution and respect representative government. The American people are aware and concerned about the enormous power the Supreme Court now wields, and they are counting on you to stay the course.
You have a strong conservative bench from which to choose a nominee. My favorite is Judge Michael Luttig, who meets all the conditions you set forth for a justice. He’s a justice in waiting. We all know it. Of course, there are other outstanding candidates. Edith Jones, Janet Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, Sam Alito, Michael McConnell, to name a few. You know them.
I’d like to also mention a touchy subject: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is a good man. Your affection for him is obvious. He has served you well in several important jobs. But, Mr. President, in your heart you know his judicial philosophy remains in serious question, and that there are more philosophically reliable candidates from which to choose. And any notion that he would be welcomed by your political opponents is wishful thinking. Remember the so-called “torture memos” and how the Left tried to taint him with them? This in no way is intended to disparage Mr. Gonzales. By all accounts, he’s an outstanding attorney general. But we’re talking about a lifetime appointment to an enormously powerful Court, and there’s simply no room for doubt.
If more people of integrity like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are not appointed to the Supreme Court, we can expect 5 or 6 justices to continue to impose their personal policy preferences on the people — further eroding private property rights, traditional values, political speech, citizenship requirements, the war on terrorism, and the very rule of law they’re sworn to uphold. The stakes for the nation are huge. Now is the time to help the Court find its constitutional way, regain some of its lost respect, and celebrate the Constitution.