Saturday, July 30, 2005

# Posted 1:30 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SOUTER-PHOBIA: In contrast to the NYT's Elisabeth Bumiller, who persuaded herself that George Bush cared more about his nominees' exercise habits than their politics, Fred Barnes provides some fairly strong evidence that the White House made a concerted effort to ensure that its replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor would be not just unborkable, but also a staunch conservative.

Barnes reports that Bush's advisers carefully studied how David Souter's nomination came about and then resolved not to make any of the same mistakes. According to one [unfortunately anonymous] White House aide,
"I'm glad we had Souter-phobia. If we hadn't asked these questions about judicial philosophy and the view of the court's role, the nominee wouldn't have been John Roberts."
That reminds me of something a prominent historian said at a conference I attended a couple of months ago. He said he had never encountered a White House so disinterested or perhaps so ignorant of history as this one. I don't buy that in general, but I think that the Roberts nomination should make it clear even to this administration's critics that the White House knows how to take history very seriously when it puts its mind to it.
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