It's quite sad that a movement to recommend a Supreme Court judge who was first appointed by Reagan and then appointed by George W. Bush strikes me as quixotic and naive. Ed Prado, the focus of the draft effort, is a Hispanic judge from Texas who's currenty serving on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush installed him there, and the Senate voted for his confirmation, 97-0. He seems to have attracted substantial support from both sides of the aisle and, demographically speaking, fills the slots Rove certainly wants filled (which is to say, he's Hispanic).
Nevertheless, it's almost impossible to imagine Bush nominating him. Prado is a Hispanic judge from Texas, but one who'll sail through confirmation and create no tough problems for the Democrats. Alberto Gonzales, on the other hand, is similarly Hispanic but, thanks to a tolerance for torture, will attract Democratic opposition and theoretically drive a wedge between Democrats and Hispanics. Indeed, the central conceit of the Draft Prado organization is that government works like it's supposed to, that Bush wants to nominate a well-qualified candidate who attracts support from both sides of the aisle, that the endorsements of senators will matter in the White House's deliberation process, that up is up and down is down. But it's not. The Bush administration's nominations are calculated so as to appease Republican constituencies and split Democratic ones., since Prado won't do that, I see little chance that he'll be nominated.
This is something Mark Schmitt has spoken about in the past, particularly in relation to Tom DeLay's legislative strategy. Bipartisan support, for these guys, is not welcomed. If too many Democrats attach themselves to a bill, the legislation will be sent back, made more ideologically objectionable, and passed with fewer Democratic votes. The idea is to put Democrat's in the toughest positions possible, to force them to oppose bills and appear obstructionist, and to prove fealty to loyal constituencies by nominating wet dream, rather than consensus, candidates. Prado seems well qualified and would surely set off a bomb of relief and comity in the Senate, but that's just his problem. The Bush administration doesn't want an easy confirmation, they don't want their choices to receive bipartisan praise on the Sunday shows. They want to stack the deck then pick a fight, and the only candidates who'll be nominated are those who fit that strategy.
But for those who aren't as cynical as I am, here's the Draft Prado website. It's a smart and well-intentioned effort, and I deeply hope, as well as deeply doubt, that they will succeed.
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