Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Specter in the Room

I have not commented on the ongoing battle that conservatives(of which I consider myself) have waged against Senator Arlen Specter's bid to become Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I have many concerns about the ramifications of a Specter chairmanship and the results of the efforts to deny him the position.

First, I believe that High level pressure was put on Specter early on in the PA primary, and specter had to have made some concessions to get active White House support in order for Specter to win the primary. Therefore I do not think Specter will be very active early on in the nomination process opposing nominees, especially for lower level district and appellate vacancies. This ties into my second concern. I fear that if Specter decides to go off the reservation on an early term SCOTUS nominee or a high profile Appellate position, he will harm PA greatly in that all of his pet projects, his initiatives, and funding that will benefit PA will be blocked for the remainder of his tenure. Finally, I fear that if Specter is denied the Chairmanship or his projects harmed as a result of his actions in the Judiciary Committee, He may resign from the Senate(His ego may not allow for this). If he is to resign, our Democratic Governor will get to appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term. This is not very important now, considering the Republicans have a 55 members majority, but any loss in the majority will hurt the party's ability to govern effectively.

I do not see a bright side to the "Specter" issue. I think that all the public and behind the scenes pressure is good in that it shines the light on him and may make him allow nominees come a vote that he may have "Borked" without such pressure. But, I think his ego may get the best of him because he may be looking for a "Legacy" which may allow him to rationalize destroying nominees in committee. If Specter tows the line on the BIG nominees, I think the White House, and many conservatives would not mind giving Specter a few wins with District and low profile appellate nominees, but the Big nominees are non-negotiable. If Specter gets the Chair, The White House, and any conservatives Justice on the SCOTUS looking to retire, should do so near term while Specter can be contained. At most, if we hold off for two years when, hopefully, we have a Republican Governor(preferably Bill Scranton) then if Specter is forced out, it would not matter as much.