Friday, July 08, 2005

Bush's Court Record in Texas

The Washington Post has an interesting story about how as governor of Texas, Bush nominated judges who were more pragmatic than ideological. Here's a quote:

In Texas, legal analysts across the political spectrum said Bush employed an open process that reflected how he presented himself as governor -- a pragmatist willing to build consensus. That approach had the effect of bringing many moderates and minorities to the bench. He made four appointments to the state Supreme Court, and legal observers said that moved the very conservative court closer to the center, appeasing consumer groups.

"My impression was that he kept the hard-line Christian right at bay back then," said Richard Murray, a political science professor at the University of Houston. "He relied heavily on an organization that could get good people identified first and foremost. There wasn't much of an ideological test."

One would hope this is a sign that Bush will nominate an O'Connor or Kennedy instead of Scalia or Thomas. But I'm not so sure. Governor Bush is not the same as President Bush. As Governor, he was more of a moderate worked in a bipartisan manner. He was not in the pocket of the Christian Right back then. However, in 2000 (remember his visit to Bob Jones University) and in 2004, Bush and the GOP bent over backwards for the far right. He might do so again for the Supreme Court pick, since this is the Religious Right's holy grail. We shall see.

I don't know, but sometimes I wonder if there is something in the water in DC. With both Clinton and Bush, we have seen governors who while not moderates, were consensus builders come to Washington and become beholden to the extremes. Clinton came in as a centrist, but his first two years in the White House showed more of a move to left. Everyone thought that Bush would govern from the center because of the closeness of the 2000 election. That didn't happen. I'm starting to think that something is keeping these leaders from governing like they did as governor and forcing them to kow tow to the extremes instead.

Is it just me?


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