Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in the midst of a campaign to cast himself as a serious voice for meeting the challenge of global warming-- see Joe Romm and David Roberts for some skepticism on this-- is wading into the climate and energy debate big time with his latest strategy memo to fellow Republicans. Several of these proposed congressional gambits relate directly to the climate crisis, and he promises that next week's newsletter will contain an alternate proposal to contrast with the climate change bill that the Senate will debate next month. But another one of today's proposals-- one that exists in a broader context-- should not go unremarked upon:
Remind Americans that judges matter. Senate Republicans should mount an ongoing fight (including a filibuster of other activities if necessary) to get the American people to realize that liberals want to block all current judicial appointments in order to maximize the number of left wing radical judges they can appoint if they win the White House...
Gingrich's proposed aggressiveness on judges isn't happening in a void. John McCain is working hard to placate internal partisan critics on the issue, while prominent activists simultaneously work to make sure that the Republican platform contains a virtual litmus test for committed judicial "conservatives." More immediately, and in line with Gingrich's sense of urgency, yesterday's Washington Post reported that the White House is dissatisfied with the Senate's moves toward approving a handful of consensus-choice judges, and antsy to get several controversial nominees onto the bench. Longtime readers should recognize one of the names immediately:
White House aides are not complaining about the apparent plan to approve Agee, White and Kethledge, but they are also not squealing with delight, either. Bush's other nominees, such as [DC Circuit nominee Peter] Keisler, have been waiting for months with no sign that the Democrats will even hold nomination hearings. The White House would almost certainly prefer the Senate approve two different conservative jurists for the 4th Circuit, Robert J. Conrad Jr. and Steve A. Matthews-- both of whom were nominated nearly a year ago.
Yes, that's the same Steve A. Matthews whose nomination raised serious questions about his views on key climate-related jurisprudence such as Mass. v. EPA. Keisler's nomination is critical simply because he is nominated for the same DC Circuit that hears many key regulatory cases, and was reversed by the Supreme Court in the aforementioned ruling. With the stakes this high-- future of the planet and all-- and the Bush administration's intransigent behavior on related matters growing worse by the day, some due diligence and serious questioning would likely have to take place before the Senate considered moving these nominees forward.
Meanwhile, be on the lookout for potential fireworks as Gingrich envisions-- particularly if judges do end up emerging, as Senator McCain put it in his remarks today, as "one of the defining issues of this presidential election."