Reports of the death of the Republican Party appear to have been premature.
Not since Sen. Bob Griffin derailed LBJ's scheme to replace Chief Justice Earl Warren with crony Abe Fortas, before Nixon got to the Oval Office, has the GOP defied this city and voted to reject a liberal judicial activist for the court.
In 1970, after revelations of scandal forced Fortas to resign, Rep. Gerald Ford moved to impeach "Wild Bill" Douglas on similar grounds. Then the fire went out -- for 40 years.
Meanwhile, Democrats trashed Republican nominees Clement Haynsworth, Harrold Carswell and Robert Bork, forced Reagan to withdraw Douglas Ginsburg, and made Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito run an Iroquois gauntlet.
Finally, yesterday, Senate Republicans, defying threats of an Hispanic backlash if they voted to reject the first Hispanic nominee, stood up and said no more EZ passes for any liberal judicial activist.
And this is only the most recent act of defiance by a party that, at long last, seems to have found its conservative compass and to be finding its way home.
Recuperation began when House Republicans stood beside Middle America and rejected the Bush-McCain-Kennedy-Clinton amnesty for illegal aliens, inflicting a humiliating defeat on the establishment.
The next sign of recovery was the decision of John McCain to damn the torpedoes and put Sarah Palin on the ticket. The smashing reception Palin received stunned mainstream media, vaulted McCain into the lead, and signaled the party what America wants it to become again.
The next act of defiance was the Republican rebellion against the $700 billion bank bailout of last September. Though House resistance was swiftly broken, Republican instincts were subsequently proven right.
Next came rock-solid Republican opposition to the mother of all pig-outs, the Pelosi stimulus package. Not one Republican voted for it in the House and only three went over the hill in the Senate. How many Blue Dogs are back home bragging about having supported that beauty?
Then, yesterday, mirabile dictu, the Republican minority in the Senate voted four-to-one to send Sonia back to Greenwich Village.
Wailed retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, "We have allowed ideology to hold a preeminent role as opposed to qualifications. I find it very, very appalling."
But what is truly appalling is the senator's inability to understand what is going in his country.
For decades, a leftist ideology has permeated the Supreme Court. Protected by lifetime appointments, liberal justices have imposed upon this once-democratic republic a social, cultural and moral revolution no Congress could ever have survived imposing and no majority would ever vote for.