This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", September 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: The second hot story is center court. All eyes are on the hearings next week for Judge John Roberts (search) to succeed the deceased William Rehnquist (search) as the chief justice of, of the Supreme Court. And, you know, for a week or so, it’s going to be the biggest show in town.
But everybody is also concentrated on who President Bush will pick as the replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor, a swing justice on the Supreme Court. Here are two opinions on all this. First Chuck Schumer it’s telling what Bush ought to do, and then Bush sort of teasing, maybe teasing, on what he has in mind. Here, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
U.S. SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: At times like this, when the nation is divided and troubled, mainstream nominees, consensus nominees, rather than ideologues, far right or far left, would serve the nation much, much better.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The list is wide open, which should create some good speculation here in Washington.
PRESIDENT BUSH: And make sure you notice, when I said that, I looked right at Alberto Gonzales (search), so to add to the speculation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, I actually think that Katrina business does improve the chances that he will appoint either a woman or a minority to that spot. Sandra Day O’Connor (search) was a woman, after all, and it’s sort of, sort of, quote unquote, a "woman’s seat," not officially, but it could be regarded as such.
I mean, you know, there’s an old saying that the Supreme Court follows the election returns. Well, there’s also, it’s also possible that the president of the United States whiffs the political winds when he’s appointing a Supreme Court justice. So I think it improves the chances of maybe Gonzales, but also former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson, who’s African-American, Edith Clements (search), who’s woman, obviously, Janice Rogers Brown (search), who’s both an African-American and a woman.
So, you know any of these and some more too, there are other candidates.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Yes, I think you’re probably right about that. But here’s what I know, and that is that the president is virtually ready right now to name the second nominee. After all, before he picked Roberts, he surveyed the field of potential conservative nominees that he could get.
He’s ready now, but he’s going to wait, congressional leaders have asked him to wait, so they can do Katrina, they can do Roberts, and they can do all these appropriations bills that are stacked up.
But Senator Schumer (search) notwithstanding, and look, I respect Schumer. He is smart and he’s very on message, that’s for sure. But he’s the one opponent that I think the White House has to worry about. But Schumer notwithstanding, Bush hasn’t abandoned his goal of moving the Supreme Court to the right, making it more conservative, and constitutionalist.
And there as luck would have it, some of the people you have named, Mort, actually fit that mold. Certainly Janice Rodgers Brown does, Larry Thompson does. I think of the other women who are around, Edith Clement you mentioned as well, who’s from New Orleans, is a conservative, Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen, who was just appointed to the nominated for the appeals court, and so on. I don’t think it’s going to be Alberto Gonzales, I really don’t.
KONDRACKE: Yes, why not?
BARNES: Because I think Bush wants a certified, clear conservative, and Gonzales isn’t that. We know from his record on the Texas Supreme Court.
BARNES: That’s my view, anyway.
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