In a tortured editorial on Rehnquist, The New York Times exhibits an attitude that must resemble that of Satan when someone he is after gets away to the other side. The Times consoles itself by noting the battles Rehnquist lost, not those he won. It could only say that the "final word on his service . will be history's, and it is likely to view him as hardly a great jurist, but one who loved the court and had a significant influence on it."
Rehnquist could have cared less what the Times thought during his life and the same could be said about the paper's prediction concerning his legacy. He cared about the Constitution and the Court. That is the model President Bush used in finding and selecting John Roberts, and it is the model he should use in his second selection.
The president should forget race, gender and all other meaningless considerations (gender considerations produced Sandra Day O'Connor, who turned out less than conservative when it mattered most). The president should, and I think will, nominate another justice with credentials at least as impeccable as John Roberts, whatever their background or personal status.
Liberal activist groups, which have so far failed to stop the Roberts momentum, will be taking the ideological equivalent of Viagra to whip themselves and their whacky followers into a state of frenzy over whomever Bush selects as his next nominee.
Watch for those rusty coat hangers to reappear in TV ads, suggesting the self-butchering of pregnant women who might be denied their "right" to abortions. Watch also for the left to invoke the image of blacks being denied the right to vote.
Bush's next nominee can distinguish himself, or herself, by overcoming these smears with dignity, intellect and a reminder that devotion to the Constitution, as written, is the best protection.
President Bush won the election. He gets to name judges who represent his judicial outlook. That's what President Clinton did. The Senate should confirm President Bush's nominees in the same timely manner.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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