The White House appears to be bending over backwards to "consult" with senators on the Supreme Court nominee. (See quote on page 2 by Scott McClellan at a White House briefing yesterday.) For instance, President Bush had a a "power breakfast" with four top senators today.
These placations may make conservatives nervous and even angry. Historically, Republicans have respected Democrat Supreme nominees, even if they were godawful - like ACLU-card-carrying Ginsberg - but Democrats have not. The other side deserves snubbing and to be put in their place when we have the power to do so.
Fox contributor Jeff Birnbaum made the point last night that stroking liberal senators' egos, even if President Bush has no intention of serving up any Supreme nominee other than a Scalia or Thomas clone, may smooth the path. Perhaps, it is hoped, liberal senators will grumble with his choice but not filibuster, since they feel they were part of the process.
[See page 2 for McClellan quote.]
I would like to update you, in terms of where we are in terms of consultations with the Senate, because the White House consultations have been wide and deep with the United States Senate. I think you heard Senator Hatch yesterday talk about how, in his 29 years in the United States Senate, he has not seen anything like this when it comes to the level of consultation that is going on. It is unprecedented, in his words, and he's certainly been around the Senate for a long time to see the type of consultations that go on.
But we have reached out to more than 60 senators now, and we have actually consulted with most of those. We are continuing those outreach calls and meetings to listen to what senators have to say and hear what their views are.
The President welcomes people suggesting names. That's part of the consultation process. But not only are we going to consult before the nomination is made, but we'll continue to consult once the nomination is made.
We've also consulted with more than half of the Democratic conference in the United States Senate. We've spoken with every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And we are continuing that outreach as we speak. A number of White House staffers have been reaching out to individual members, and the President is going to be sitting down and meeting with those four leaders tomorrow.
-White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, White House Press Briefing, 7/11/05