Robert Novak

  Gilmore has been critical of this year's losing campaign by former State Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Gilmore was critical of Kilgore and other Virginia Republican leaders for losing voters on the tax issue in a state that has not been carried by a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

  A footnote: Despite Kilgore's unimpressive campaign for governor, he is being talked about as a candidate for Congress against liberal Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher in southwest Virginia. Boucher has won election for 12 terms, but Kilgore carried the district in the governor's race.


  Hopes by Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana to become the centrist candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination were not helped by the Nov. 30 ruling of Federal District Judge David Hamilton of Indianapolis, a former Bayh aide, against the Indiana state legislature opening its sessions with a prayer referring to Jesus Christ.

  When Bayh was governor of Indiana, Hamilton was his chief counsel and master political strategist. Hamilton ruled, in response to a lawsuit filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, that any prayers referring to Jesus Christ by name, "Savior" or "Son of God" are unconstitutional. He said that such a reference "amounts in practical terms to an official endorsement of the Christian religion." Hamilton was named to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

  A footnote: Republican Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana, a member of the House subcommittee on the Constitution, contends the judiciary has no power to kill the legislature's prayer. He plans to write President Bush urging him not to enforce Hamilton's ruling.

Robert Novak

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

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