Senate Minority Leader (and supposed prolife democrat) Harry Reid from Nevada tells AP :
…the Senate Democratic leader says the nature of the confirmation proceedings ultimately will depend on whether Bush taps a “mainstream conservative” or someone further to the right of the political spectrum to fill the high court vacancy.
In his words, “whether or not there’s a knockdown, drag-out fight on this is up to the president.”
Them sounds like fightin words to me!
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****Here’s the entire AP Wire Story****
RENO, Nev. (AP) Sen. Harry Reid said Thursday he hopes to avoid prolonged political battle over a Supreme Court nominee and is encouraged by President Bush’s efforts to reach out to Democrats for advice.
But the Senate Democratic leader said the nature of the confirmation proceedings ultimately will depend on whether Bush taps a “mainstream conservative” or someone further to the right of the political spectrum to fill the high court vacancy.
“The president has started a consultive process,” Reid said in an interview Thursday.
“Constitutionally that’s the right thing to do. I appreciate his having done this,” he told The Associated Press.
“As to whether or not there’s a knockdown, drag-out fight on this is up to the president,” Reid said before giving a keynote address at a Reno conference on aging.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” he said, stopping short of ruling out a filibuster.
Bush has said there would be no litmus test for his nominee on issues such as abortion or gay rights.
“I’ll pick people who, one, can do the job, people who are honest, people who are bright and people who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not use the bench to legislate from,” the president said earlier this week.
But liberal and conservative groups are already mounting intense public relations campaigns, hoping for a justice who will sway the direction of the court their way in the years to come.
Reid said he’s met with the president twice about the Supreme Court and was encouraged by those meetings. “The president, we know, will pick a conservative lawyer,” Reid said. “We need a mainstream conservative. We’re not going to get somebody that’s our choice. It’s his choice, and I look forward to working with him.
“I’m glad the process has started as it has and I hope it continues.”
Bush was to meet Monday with congressional leaders of both parties to discuss prospective candidates to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a pivotal swing vote on the closely divided court.
Reid has recommended the president look outside the judicial branch, suggesting Republican Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for the nation’s highest court.
“I’ve already given those names to the president,” Reid said. “The names that he gives us are the important ones.”
Reid himself has been targeted in a critical advertising campaign by Fidelis, a conservative Catholic-based organization, over the upcoming nomination.
“As minority leader, Sen. Reid is in a unique position to ensure the confirmation hearings must follow nothing less than the threefold high standard of being responsible, civil and
constitutional,” the group said in a newspaper advertisement.
“Catholics and all people of faith must join together and defend Supreme Court nominees who will likely be attacked because of the faith and deeply held beliefs.”
Reid quipped that his endorsement of the Republican senators will likely doom their consideration.
“It probably did those people more harm than good,” he said, adding the right wing will “rise up and say there must be something wrong with that person if Reid likes him.”