The Corner

Re: Hewitt

The balance on all of the committees should be changed to reflect the Republicans’ larger majority–that’s a given. Of course, good new members should be added to the Judiciary Committee. Rules changes that would reduce the generous rights of a Senate minority should be carefully considered–Republicans don’t have a majority in perpetuity. (Why does Hugh Hewitt think that those rules can/should be changed at the will of the majority–which they clearly can–but the party’s practice about seniority can’t/shouldn’t be modified by a majority vote of Committee Republicans as the caucus rules permit?) Republicans showed that Arlen Specter is a welcome member of the party–President Bush personally saved his seat for him for gosh sakes. That doesn’t mean that the party shouldn’t recognize that its interests wouldn’t be served if he were chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The party helped him keep his seat in 2004, now the party is free to make sure that he doesn’t cost them seats in 2006. As Judiciary Chairman, Arlen Specter isn’t just one vote who can be outvoted by fellow Republicans on the committee. The chairman’s counsel is sought by the White House before nominations are made. He will be expected to sound out other members about possible nominations. There will be horsetrading with him behind the scenes–so fewer conservative judges are likely to be nominated. It matters not that he has voted for every Bush nominee–he was facing a primary challenge. Now he’s a lame duck. He’s been alienated from conservatives for years, no doubt more so now given the conservative challenge that came so close to defeating him. His statement the day after his re-election can only be read as a declaration of independence–from the White House and the majority of his party.

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