Conservatives Promised Gonzales Will Not Be Nominated to Supreme Court

Conservatives are told it will not be Gonzales (The Hill)

White House officials have assured select conservative leaders that they will not nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O̢۪Connor, according to a conservative familiar with the behind-the-scenes discussions.

The message has filtered out to conservative activists that Gonzales, whom many activists believe would be too liberal on abortion and racial preference issues, is no longer a threat to their cause. That could portend a fierce battle in the Senate in September, as Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) has said Gonzales would be a qualified nominee, suggesting that his selection could have achieved bipartisan consensus.

Senior administration officials have told select conservative leaders that President Bush is likely to nominate either Edith Jones or Edith Clement, members of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the conservative source said. It is also possible that would nominate Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan or former Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, whom the Senate recently confirmed to the 5th Circuit.

If this report is accurate, Gonzales didn’t have a chance, having the misfortune of being born a man. While these women are almost certainly well qualified, the idea that O’Connor’s should forever more be “a woman’s seat” is insulting. We should be well beyond the point where tokenism is necessary.

Of course, as Michelle Malkin documents, the SCOUTUS rumors are flying fast at the moment.

Joe Gandelman believes Gonzales would have gotten the nod had Chief Justice Rehnquist provided a second opening, and still may get an appointment down the road. Angry Clam hopes not.

Alexander K. McClure would be happy with any of the women over Gonzales.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    I hear you on tokenism, but I noticed that when Rehnquist’s possible replacements were being considered, the lists I saw were all-male.

    This became amusing when O’Connor announced and the same lists got retitled without any changes to the lineup, and then overnight a couple of women appeared.

    Either (a) there are no women of sufficient caliber to make a list of Rehnquist replacements, or (b) we’re not past tokenism yet.

  2. McGehee says:

    I wouldn’t say “we’re” not past tokenism — but I’ve long had the impression that the permanent population of official Washington (i.e., below the political appointee level) runs a fairly consistent 30 years or so behind the rest of the country.

  3. Zsa Zsa says:

    It is too bad that in the year 2005 we are dealing with reverse discrimination!… I have seen this kind of thing happen all to often in the work place!
    My friend didn’t get a particular job because he was not a gay male!… Well meant I am sure…BUT… it doesn’t seem right! It defeats the concept of discrimination laws! The most qualified person for the job becomes unimportant!…I compare it to going to a surgeon! Would you prefer a well qualified surgeon or one that was chosen because of their gender , race. or sexual preference!…Hmmm….

  4. Paul of York says:

    I hope they added “ever” after Gonzales won’t be nominated.
    I think the Democrats are succeeding in making The White House think a woman has to replaced by a woman, a black by a black. It’s the Democrats idea, not conservatives and we should do our own thinking, we should be beyond tokenism.

  5. Rick DeMent says:

    I think the Democrats are succeeding in making The White House think a woman has to replaced by a woman,

    Ahhh .. Laura Bush was one of the people who mentioned that O’Connor’s replacement should be a woman, I missed the part where she became a Democrat.

  6. Dean says:

    Well, in my opinion Alberto is not ready, yet. There is no doubt it is brilliant, but I think he needs to needs to have more of a track record with clear experience.

    But then again, we could all be very surprised.

  7. dw says:

    I think the Democrats are succeeding in making The White House think a woman has to replaced by a woman, a black by a black.

    Uhh… so you’re blaming the Dems for Clarence Thomas? After all, he did replace Marshall.

  8. Just Me says:

    I am not super into the political correctness that seems to pervade the nominees-it seems that forever more the O’Conner seat is going to be reserved for a woman.

    Personally I would just like to see the most qualified person nominated, whether it is a man or a woman. Although I admit to being happy that it isn’t going to be Gonzalez, and I will be even happier if he never gets the nod.

  9. Anderson says:

    I hope it’s not a novel idea to us here that prejudice can be subconscious, and that a bunch of guys asked to pick nominees will have a tendency to pick a bunch of guys.

    That to me is the argument for tokenism—the need to make 2 of 9 justices women (when what % of judges & lawyers are female? surely more than 22%?) forces us to notice the qualified females who might otherwise be overlooked.

  10. Just Me says:

    Except that I am not real into overlooking qualified males to find the female either.