Robert Novak

 Specter is vague about the "nuclear option" but has been seeking to unblock some blocked nominee. Myers would seem an unlikely choice. As a lobbyist and former Interior Department solicitor, he provides a cornucopia of positions antagonizing the left. Myers is the first judicial nominee ever opposed by the National Wildlife Federation and the National Congress of American Indians.

 Specter chose Myers because he thought him the best chance to get 60 votes. Although never before accused of naivete, old pol Specter was taken in by the bait-and-switch tactics used by liberal Democrat Ken Salazar last year to win a Senate seat from the pale "Red" state of Colorado. As state attorney general, Salazar strongly endorsed Idaho lawyer Myers for the heavily liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. As a senator, he joined Democratic colleagues asking Bush to withdraw Myers's name.

 Indeed, Democrats are so addicted to the taste of judicial blood that they apparently will not confirm Myers even to trap Republicans into the 60-vote precedent. Sen. Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, last week declared Myers unacceptable.

 Specter can decide which nominee comes first out of the Judiciary Committee, though he has pledged to move all of them to the Senate floor. But he will not decide which one is taken up first by the Senate. That is the prerogative of the leadership, which is inclined to go with Justice Brown or possibly Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen. But if the leaders are sure Specter cannot get 60 votes, Myers might be sent to the floor to show that not even 58 or 59 senators can confirm a judge.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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