Reid: Gonzales Qualified for High Court

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid all but endorsed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for the Supreme Cour this afternoon.

Reid: Gonzales Qualified for High Court (AP)

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday pronounced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, but added, “I don’t know if he’d have an easy way through” Senate confirmation.

Reid also chided conservatives for criticizing Gonzales while Bush was overseas. “I think it’s too bad the president has to respond in Denmark about statements from the far right,” he said. “People here have gone a little too far.”

Gonzales was confirmed as attorney general by a vote of 60-36 earlier this year as Republicans overrode Democratic critics who said he had helped formulate White House policies that led to torture of prisoners held overseas as part of the war on terror.

“Alberto Gonzales is qualified. He’s attorney general of the United States and a former Texas judge,” Reid said. “But having said that he’s qualified, I don’t know if he’d have an easy way through.”

While Gonzales would hardly by my dream Justice, he’s likely an improvement over O’Connor ideologically. It’s interesting that Reid has gone public with this well before a nomination is announced. Perhaps he figures that by signaling that the Democrats would support a candidate that the president seems to favor he can persuade Bush to avoid going for a Scalia-type conservative.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Law and the Courts
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.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    The President doesn’t pick nominees solely on whether they’re “qualified”; I don’t see why the Senate should be limited to considering that sole factor. Checks & balances …

    That said, how someone who thinks the Youngstown case is simply irrelevant to executive wartime power, can even be said to be qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, is beyond me. But that was no bar to his becoming AG, it seems.

  2. Cronyism

    Man, am I out of touch with the far right (of which I’m occasionally accused of membership) – my problem with Alberto Gonzalez has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, or with his mythical ability to transform himself into David…

  3. Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet) says:

    Is there some “reverse English” in this story? Daring the Pres to make an appointment against the grain of his more conservative supporters? Ya think?

  4. bryan says:

    I think he passes the non-litmus-test litmus test the Democrats have for supreme court nominees.