Conservative nominees, but when?

Vice President Cheney told members of the Federal Society that the administration will continue to nominate conservatives to the judiciary even though Democrats now control the Senate. That’s good news, of course, but I hope that the administration will also send such nominees forward promptly.
I still don’t understand why the adminstration dawdled last year, when it knew that, at best, the Repubican majority in the Senate would be trimmed this fall. For example, when Judge Luttig stepped down from the Fourth Circuit in May of this year, conservatives urged President Bush to act quickly to nominate a replacement similar to Luttig in judicial philosophy and intellect. Yet he still has not nominated anyone for that slot.
Even though the Democrats have 51 Senators now, it may be possible to peel off enough of them to confirm solid, non-activist judges. In some cases, the Dems may be able to filibuster these nominees, but that comes with a political price. The Dems will try to avoid the dilemma of either filibustering or confirming good nominees by bottling them up in committee. The administration should send up a nominee for every vacancy without delay to maximize time in which to try to push nominees out of committee (and, if this proves impossible, to build the strongest record possible of Democratic obstructionism to use in the next election and, if necessary, as precedent for future obstruction of Democratic nominees).


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