Saturday, October 01, 2005

Novak: DeLay Wanted Dreier; Miers and Alito On Short List for S.C.

Robert Novak always has impeccable Republican sources whether you agree with what he has to say or not. Today, Novak confirms Advance Indiana's report from earlier this week that exiled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay wanted David Dreier to fill in for him on an interim basis because Dreier, unlike Roy Blunt, would "have eased the way for DeLay's eventual return." Novak also said, "Hastert's allies also contend the speaker decided to name Majority Whip Roy Blunt as DeLay's temporary successor without being urged to by conservative House members who opposed Dreier."

The claim that Hastert was not under pressure from conservatives, who were well aware of the reports alleging that Dreier was a closeted gay man, is at odd with what The Hill and other news sources reported this week. The Hill said, "After press reports shortly after the indictment that Dreier would assume the temporary position of majority leader, conservative activists from around the country flooded the Speaker’s office with phone calls protesting the selection of Dreier, according to one leadership aide." Also, ABC's The Note ran this item: "Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports that at Wednesday's weekly Republican Study Committee meeting, RSC Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) and a handful of other lawmakers said they would oppose Dreier when he came up for a vote in Conference. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), according to sources, suggested that Pence should be Majority Leader. Why is Advance Indiana not surprised that Rep. Pence's name would surface as an opponent of naming Dreier as the interim House Majority Leader? Once again, Rep. Pence protests too much when it comes to anything gay-related.

Novak also reports today that President Bush has a short list of just two candidates for the Supreme Court seat of retiring Sandra Day O'Connor. Novak said, "The two names passing through conservative legal circles last week to fill the remaining Supreme Court vacancy were White House Counsel Harriet Miers and Federal Appeals Court Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr." The 55-year old Alito is a bona fide conservative according to Novak, but questions remain in conservative minds about Miers. Novak says of her: "Miers, a 60-year-old former Dallas City Council member, is a prominent Dallas lawyer without judicial experience. She is close to President Bush, but the pro-life movement questions her position on abortion. She would be the first non-judge named to the Supreme Court since William Rehnquist in 1972."

Advance Indiana's editor, Gary R. Welsh, heard her speak a few years back at a Phi Delta Phi gathering in Washington, D.C. shortly after she assumed her job as a counsel for President George W. Bush. She is a very accomplished business attorney, having rose to the rank of managing partner in one of Texas' biggest law firms, which is quite an accomplishment in a conservative state like Texas, and she was also the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association. Based upon what Advance Indiana knows of her, she is much less likely to be a rigid, conservative ideologue like Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas, or how it is feared newly installed Chief Justice John Roberts will be. That may explain conservatives' hesitations about her being named by Bush.

No comments: