RUSH: All right, interesting, interesting story here about Chuck Schumer. Actually there are two different stories about Chuck Schumer and the upcoming fight over the Bush Supreme Court nominee. Now, the first story I have here is from today’s New York Sun, and it’s got a lot of interesting things in it that I want to comment on. The headline of the story is: “Schumer Sees Way to Block Bush on Court — Citing a recent bipartisan compromise on the treatment of judicial nominees, Senator Chuck Schumer said yesterday that Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee are prepared to use judicial philosophy as justification for thwarting any of President Bush’s nominees to replace Justice O’Connor.
In fact, Chuck Schumer said that he’s going to ask these nominees pointblank how they’re going to vote on Roe vs. Wade and other issues. He says, ‘It’s too important now. It’s too crucial. We’re not going to pussyfoot around. Judicial philosophy will indeed be a justification for determining whether some nominee constitutes extraordinary circumstances or not.'” Now, what’s interesting about that is that John McCain the Third, Lindsey Graham, was on television over the weekend saying that the gang of 14 — he was a member of it.
The gang of 14 deal said there’s no way judicial philosophy would be an extraordinary circumstance, and yet Chuck Schumer said, Oh, yes it is! “The comments by Chuck Schumer raised a possibility that any nominee who was acceptable to most Republicans will be blocked by a filibuster in the Senate — the same situation that lawmakers had earlier avoided. ‘Ideological attacks are not an extraordinary circumstances,’ Mr. Graham said, Lindsey Graham, on Fox News Sunday, yet Chuck Schumer, speaking to reporters at a press conference on another issue yesterday said that a nominee’s judicial philosophy could indeed constitute an extraordinary circumstance and warrant obstruction.” But we’ve only scratched the surface here on Chuck Schumer.
Sit tight because this newspaper story in the New York Sun from which I’m reading, doesn’t even capture the half of it. It’s not their fault. Drudge has an exclusive on his website. Chuck Schumer on the phone discussing all this, his cell phone while on a train from DC to New York or New Jersey or whatever, but he was on the train, on the Amtrak train and talking on a cell phone to an ally and the whole conversation was overheard — well, Schumer’s side of it, at any rate.
RUSH: All right, now back to this Chuck Schumer business. Again, the New York Sun today quotes him as saying that, Hey, you know, judicial philosophy, that is a justification for thwarting any of President Bush’s nominees, and we’re going to filibuster ’em. Lindsey Graham, on Fox News Sunday said, “Oh, no, no, no, ideological attacks are not an extraordinary circumstance.” Ideological attacks, meaning judicial philosophy, no, no, no, no. That does not constitute an extraordinary circumstance and that will not break our deal. A-hem. A-heh-heh-hem. We shall see. “Mr. Schumer said, ‘The bottom line is that the agreement said extraordinary circumstances, but it also said the extraordinary circumstances are at the discretion of each of the individual senators,'” which it did, which means that the whole deal is worthless. So you’d have to ask each of them. They signed it.
“‘But I’ve talked to some of them,’ Chuck said, and of course judicial philosophy could be within the realm of extraordinary circumstances. For me for sure, and I think for the people that signed the agreement, most of them, judicial philosophy will constitute an extraordinary circumstance. The bottom line is that I don’t have any litmus test,’ Schumer said, ‘period. It would be great if we could avoid a fight, and the president, look, make no mistake about it, he’s going to choose a conservative, but it could be a Sandra Day O’Connor-type of conservative: thoughtful, mainstream, with the ability to see the other side. Or it could be way off the chart ideologue which would create a fight. I don’t like ideologues on the bench. I’ve said I think a good court will have one Scalia and one Brennan, not five of either one. But to simply look at the r?sum? of the nominee and say, “You’re fine,” I don’t buy it.’ Schumer said. ‘I think that person’s views on environmental rights, voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, this is key.'”
Alright now let’s go to the Drudge exclusive: “Senate judiciary member Chuck Schumer got busy plotting away on the cell phone aboard a Washington, D.C. to New York Amtrak plotting Democrat strategy for the upcoming Supreme Court battle. Schumer promised a fight over whoever the president’s nominee was. Quote: ‘It’s not about an individual judge. It’s about how it affects the overall makeup of the court.’ Schumer was overheard on a long cell phone conversation with an unknown political ally. The Drudge Report was there. Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, proudly said, ‘We’re contemplating how we’re going to go to war over this.'” Now, folks, don’t misunderstand. This doesn’t surprise me. The reason I read to you the New York Sun story first is because that’s the public Chuck Schumer. That’s the public Chuck Schumer: “Well, yeah, extraordinary circumstances can be judicial philosophy but we don’t want to go to war. We want a good pick. We want to do whatever we can to advance the process.” That’s what he’s saying publicly. Privately, when he doesn’t know anyone is listening, they’re going to go to war against whoever it is.
It doesn’t matter. They’re plotting it now. “Schumer went on to say how hard it was to predict how a Supreme Court justice would turn out. He later went on to mock the gang of 14 judicial filibuster deal, said it ‘wasn’t relevant’ in the Supreme Court debate. He said, ‘A Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown-style appointment may not have been extraordinary to the appellate court but may be extraordinary to the Supreme Court.’ By the time the train hit New Jersey, Schumer shifted gears and called his friend and gang of 14 member Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. They talked in a very friendly manner about doing an event sometime this week together.”
So just to get this on the record: The idea, folks, that the liberals — including the seven Democrats of the gang of 14 — ever agreed that judicial philosophy will not constitute an extraordinary circumstance is laughable. They never agreed to that. They all reserved the right to define it themselves individually. The only thing they cared about in this confirmation process is judicial philosophy. Everybody has one despite what some on our side are saying. With lib judges, ideology matters, because they’ll seek to implement it through activism. The Democrats have never obstructed any of these nominations because of concerns over the nominee’s qualifications or character. It’s only been about his propensity to buck the lib activist precedent, especially on the abortion issue. So it’s interesting to note that while Schumer is out there in public, you know, he is sounding the war drums but then, you know, holding back, and saying, “Well, if the president nominates Sandra Day O’Connor type then we’re fine.
We’re cool. We’ll be ready to go,” but it’s not that case at all. They’re gearing up for a war. They’re going to filibuster, and they’re going to oppose whoever the nominee is — and I know that’s predictable. It should not come as a surprise. I just don’t want enough you falling for the public pronouncement of all this. Let’s go audio sound bites. We’ll start here at the top. This is the president. He was in Copenhagen this morning, held a news conference with the Danish prime minister, and I have a portion of the president describing his conversation with the prime minister about Club G’itmo.
BUSH: The prisoners are well treated in Guantanamo. There’s total transparency. The International Red Cross can inspect any time, any day, and you’re welcome to go. The press, of course, is welcome to go down to Guantanamo. Remember, we are in a war against these terrorists. My most solemn obligation is to protect the American people from further attack. These people are being treated humanely. There are very few prison systems around the world that have seen such scrutiny as this one, and for those of you here on the continent of Europe who have doubt, I suggest buying an airplane ticket and going down and look. Take a look for yourself.
RUSH: What airport do you fly into? (Laughing.) Seriously, I mean, this is not that easy to get to Cuber. You gotta go through the you gotta get a visa. You gotta go to the state department. You can do it as a journalist. You can get down there, but I know they’ve got runways at Club G’itmo but you don’t need a ticket for those runways; you need a military escort. Nevertheless what he was saying to the prime minister of Denmark, the Danish prime minister, he said, “Go there. I mean, if you have any problems go there and take a look at it. Buy a ticket and go down and see Club G’itmo.” So they’re obviously welcoming any and all –and of course, folks, as Ellen Tauscher said (summarizing), congressperson from California: “Of course Club G’itmo is clean now because they moved all the torture out to ships at sea, ships sailing the seven seas are out there, and that’s where the torture is going. The administration feels totally confident in letting people see Club G’itmo now.”
This next comment, an unidentified female reporter asked the president, “What do you think of the criticism of Attorney General Gonzales as a potential nominee? Will there be a litmus test on abortion and gay marriage when you consider your choice to replace Justice O’Connor on the Supreme Court?”
BUSH: As I said on both of my campaigns, there will be no litmus test. I’ll pick people who, one, can do the job, people who are honest, people who are bright, and people who will strictly interpret the Constitution, and not use the bench to legislate from. That’s what I campaigned on and that’s what I’m going to do. She’s referring to the fact that my attorney general, long time friend, a guy that came up to Washington with me as a part of the movement of Texans south to north during the government. He’s been my lawyer in the White House. He’s now the attorney general. Being criticized. I don’t like it when a friend gets criticized. I’m loyal to my friends, and all of a sudden this fellow — who is a good public servant and a really fine person — is under fire, and so do I like it? No, I don’t like it (laughs) at all.
RUSH: Story in the New York Times today: “The White House and the Senate Republican leadership are pushing back against pressure from some of their conservative allies…urging them to stop attacking Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales as a potential nominee and to tone down their talk of a culture war. In a series of conference calls on Tuesday and over the last several days, Republican Senate aides encouraged conservative groups to avoid emphasizing the…cultural issues that social conservatives see at the heart of the court fight… Instead, these participants, who insisted on anonymity to avoid exclusion from future calls, said the aides — including Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference and Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader — emphasized themes that had been tested in polls, including a need for a fair and dignified confirmation process,” and the president talks about that in his next sound bite that we have which we’ll get to after this break here at the bottom of the hour.
RUSH: Here’s President Bush, and this is the comment that he made this morning in Copenhagen about the process that he hopes unfolds during the confirmation of his next Supreme Court nominee.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The needs to conduct themselves in a dignified way —
BUSH: — and have a good honest debate about the credentials of the person I put forward, no matter who he or she is —
RUSH: Dream on.
BUSH: — and then give the person an up-or-down vote. That’s how to process ought to work. So this is an opportunity for good public servants to exhibit a civil discourse on a very important matter and not let these, you know, groups, these money-raising groups, these special interest groups, these groups outside the process, dictate the rhetoric, the tone, and I’m confident the senators, most senators want to conduct themselves this way.
RUSH: Okay, so we learn now, at least from the New York Times that that is a comment resulting from polls, that that is a poll-tested comment. Let me explain this to you again. The New York Times has a story today that a couple of people working with the Senate, Senate aides, have been calling conservative activists, saying, “Hey, tone down all this culture war rhetoric. We don’t need that right now.” The two people are Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference and Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist. “They emphasize themes that had been tested in polls, including the need for a fair and dignified confirmation process,” and so the president uses those very words this morning anyways press conference. So clearly the president is talking to the American people, not the members of the Senate and he’s really not even speaking to the outside agitator groups. He’s talking to the American people.
So they’ve gone out; they’ve focus grouped this and the American people apparently have said in large enough numbers they don’t want any arguing; they don’t want any fighting. They want a dignified process so the president is saying, “I’ve heard you. We need a dignified process,” and the purpose of this is to — when there isn’t a dignified process — and trust me, it’s not going to be. The only way it could be a dignified process is if he nominated Ted Kennedy. Short of that, the Democrats are not going to act dignified. Chuck Schumer’s admitted this. It’s all-out war. They’re going to do anything they can. There are a whole bunch of theories as to why, and if I were you, I wouldn’t get caught up in the idea that the sole reason here is to defeat the president’s nominee.
What do you think might else be on the agenda of the Democrats when it comes to stonewalling the next nominee no matter who it is, short of Ted Kennedy? In addition to wanting to defeat the guy and keeping him or her off the court, the more the Democrats can hold up any action on anything, the sooner they think they will be able to establish second-term lame duck status on George W. Bush. So I think they’ve gotta two-pronged approach going here, a two-pronged strategery, if you will, to keep whoever is nominated off the court and in so doing, make it look like Bush can’t get anything done. “You can’t get anything done on Social Security, can’t get anything done here, can’t get anything done over there, can’t get anything done in the war on Iraq, can’t get his nominees.
He may as well not even be president,” and in this way, the Democrats will be able to, in their minds, assume even mean more power and control in terms of running the town, because, “Hey, we got a president here can’t get anything done. He can’t work with anybody. He can’t work with his own party.” This is why I’ve been telling you, folks, that the people that really concern me in all this are not the Democrats and the media because they’re predictable.
The people that concern me are the Lindsey Grahams and the John McCains and the Hagels and the whoever else who are going to go out there and try to curry favor with their buddies on the left and the media and in culture in Washington and contribute to this notion. Like when Hagel went out and basically said that the war in Iraq was a dismal failure, the White House better admit it and he ends up in a MoveOn.org ad. When you have this two-pronged strategery here to keep whoever Bush nominates off of the court, and also create the impression, ‘He can’t get anything done. He’s not even president. What he wants done can’t get done. He doesn’t have the power. Look it, even members of his own party are crossing the line to join us on this,” they will say, with the first comment from Hagel or McCain or any Republican in the Senate about the nominee or about any other issue.
So the president out there has obviously gone out and polled this, come up with the result that the American people hope for a dignified process. The White House knows full-well the Senate’s not going to act dignified, the Democrats aren’t. So it’s a battle here for the hearts and minds of the American people, as it always is. As it always is. You can make bank on that, and there are a lot of people on the right who are upset about this Gonzales business, and they’re mobilized out there, and it no doubt has angered the president quite a bit.
So there’s a whole lot in the hopper here is the point, whole lot in the hopper. We also learned today that former senator Fred Thompson has been hired by the White House to guide whoever the nominee is through the process. Thompson’s a good old boy. When he was in the Senate he was liked by members of both parties. He’s not considered an ideologue, but he is conservative. He’s more conservative than you would know. He’s a great guy and he’s very, very much interested in this. I think it’s great that they’ve tapped him to help guide the nominee through the process here. In most cases these nominees are nominated and they sink and swim on their own.
They’re just left to fend for themselves out there. Bork was — and it’s always amazed me how there hasn’t been a whole lot of support. Clarence Thomas was a little different because we’ve learned from Bork. Some of these appellate nominees have been out there and they just languished on their own and there weren’t people out there to guide them and promote them through the process. So Fred Thompson been hired to do that by the White House. That’s also good news. Belleville, Illinois. This is John as we go to the phones. Welcome, sir. Nice to have you with us.
CALLER: Well, thank you. It’s an honor to talk with you, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: My concern is everybody is up in arms over Roe vs. Wade and the Ten Commandments in the courthouse and all those things that really don’t affect a whole lot of people, and everybody is ignoring the fact that the Supreme Court just said they can come in and take your house for a private developer, and I think we need to really focus on property rights and I think that the president would be far more successful if he started to take attention away from some of these other issues and focused on things that are going to affect more people.
RUSH: Well, you raise an interesting point, but let me just give you a jigger of reality here. There is nothing that’s going to sweep abortion away from this fight. Nothing. You have to understand: Liberalism is a religion, and abortion is the sacrament. It is the only thing that matters. It’s not the only thing, but all this gobbledygook talk that they engage in about “civil rights” and “personal privacy,” it’s all just code lingo for abortion. There is a single litmus test for the left and that’s it, because abortion and the whole concept of abortion encompasses all of what liberalism really is. In abortion, in the whole process and in every facet of it from the financial gains made by it to the support from women, feminist groups and so forth, it just encapsulates that one issue, encapsulates the whole — as well as one issue can, the whole — specter of liberalism. On the other side you have just as much energy devoted to the issue, but from a different context or standpoint, and nothing is going to erase this.
The property rights decision that came down last week was just one of three, and they were all abysmal, and they have irritated and agitated a lot of people. I think these things all fall into place. I’ve said to you a lot of times over the course of these almost 18 years that it takes a lot of dominos falling to finally make an impression on this large a population, and the property rights decision is just one of those building blocks, one of those dominos that falls and wakes a lot of people up who normally don’t even care about this, and the reason this is one of those kinds of issues — because it’s easily understandable and it’s going to affect more ordinary people than anything else, any other group of people, and so you put those two things together, and it is a rallying cry issue.
But in a war, and in a battle, the aggressors set the rules, and the aggressor here will be the Democrats and their issue is abortion — and so that’s what’s going to be responded to and on the table. Look it, I think it’s absolutely absurd, too. But it’s the reality that we deal with and the reality that we face. See I think the bigger issue — bigger than property rights, bigger than abortion, the issue that makes all those things happen the way they do — is the court’s out of control. We have a court that features way too many people who use it as a means of implementing personal policy preferences, rather than deciding the constitutionality of laws passed by the Congress. They do not — way too many members do not — look at the original intent of the constitution, they look at the Constitution as a “breathing document,” a “living document,” that they can bend and shape to accommodate whatever their personal policy preferences are — and when you have a bunch of activists who believe in big government, ergo, you get the property rights decision that we got two weeks ago from New London, Connecticut, and the one out of San Francisco, and there was one other.
That’s what’s at stake here, and it’s going to take three nominations, three confirmations of originalists to turn this around. That’s what’s really at stake here, folks, not just one nomination. It’s not just one judge, and it’s not just one fight. It’s going to take three, whether you’re talking about overturning Roe vs. Wade or overturning the property rights decision or anything. To change the direction of this court, it’s going to take at least three originalists being confirmed before George Bush leaves office, and I’m assuming that this does not include replacing Scalia or Thomas.
You know, they’re young by court standards. We’ll leave them there. You need three more to go with them to make it 5-4 originalist. You know we’re replacing Sandra Day O’Connor here. If you replace her with a strict constructionist or an originalist, you’ve got three. You’ve got Thomas, Scalia, and whoever this new person is. You’ve still got (interruption). Pardon? Well Rehnquist is… (interruption). He’s not as conservatives as everybody thought he was going to be, but you throw him in. He’s (interruption). I guess. (interruption) Okay, you got four there. But you have to assume that Rehnquist is going to be…going as well. That’s why I’m only saying I leave Scalia and Thomas there on the originalist side. They’re going to be there for the foreseeable future. Rehnquist isn’t, and O’Connor is gone. So Rehnquist and O’Connor need to be replaced with two originalists, and it’s still 5-4 for the anti-originalists, for the activists! So there’s a big thing really brewing here with a tremendous possibility — and that’s why all this talk of what Schumer is going to do?
I really don’t care about the left and the Democrats because we know what they’re going to do. What I am advocating: just go for it all. The president has two and a half years left. The last year of a presidential term, second term, nothing happens no this regards, and that’s traditional. Presidents on their way out, their court nominations and other things languish. They not move forward because there’s a new president coming in less than a year. It happened to Clinton; it happened to Reagan. It happens to all of them, so Bush doesn’t have three and a half years. He’s got two and a half years to get three originalists on the court. Okay, so somebody’s got to retire after Rehnquist before we even get a chance to go to the third. Who’s it going to be? Well, you got John Paul Stevens, who is 85, and he’s an activist. You’ve got Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is said to be not in good health. She’s an activist. So it’s going to take three of them, folks, and that’s the larger issue that’s at stake here, not a single issue.
RUSH: One thing that’s interesting, folks, to look at this. Follow me on this. You can call this sleight of hand. Right before your very eyes, the Democrats have demonstrated a battle-honed and 20-plus-year anti-conservative judicial appointment attack machine. It started with Ted Kennedy and Robert Bork. You’ve got People for the American Way, their supreme leader, Ralph Neas. You’ve got the NAGs and the Alliance for Justice and all of these groups — and they Borked Bork. They tried to Bork Clarence Thomas. They tried to Bork every Bush appointment. They even resorted to filibustering a bunch of his appellate appointments in the first and second term — and what’s the template in the New York Times today? The template in the New York Times today is “conservatives attack Gonzales.”
You are watching it in real time. Just check the media. The template is: “conservatives on the attack,” and they’re attacking a guy who hasn’t even been nominated. Now, here’s the thing. Conservatives are attacking Gonzales. There are a lot of conservatives who are afraid of Gonzales because of some rulings he made down in Texas having to do with abortion, and they’re afraid that he’s not an originalist, and so they’re making those fears known in the form of up-raised voices, to the White House which is all fine and dandy. But isn’t it amazing how that makes news in the New York Times: “Conservatives attacking a nominee,” and yet for 20 years all we’ve had is the left attacking every nominee that’s come down the pike.
Not just attacking, but ruining them, trying to destroy them, from Bork to Clarence Thomas, to Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, Charles Pickering, and there’s never a word in the media about that. No, what we get is: “The loyal opposition has serious problems with these nominees.” We never hear about the left-wing attack machine. We never hear about it. We never hear in the mainstream press about this 20-plus-year strategy, this machine that has been put into place since Ted Kennedy and Robert Bork. But let the conservatives come up and oppose Gonzales, and, “Whoa, look at what we got here! Why, the conservatives are attacking a nominee! Why, how dare they!” and it becomes big, big news, and it shouldn’t surprise you. To the mainstream press anything that reeks of disunity on the Republican side, that’s huge news. That’s big news.
That’s why they love the mavericks, John McCain, these guys that go against their own party. But you never, ever see a story on the genuine, legitimate attack machine to destroy people. Conservatives aren’t trying to destroy Gonzales. They’re not Borking Gonzales. They’re not doing anything of the kind. They’re just telling the White House, “Hey, we remember what you said during the campaign, and Gonzales does not typify what you said you’d do in the campaign, and we got real problems with that.” I’m just calling your attention to this because the genuine attack machine that’s been oiled and honed and perfected, is continually ignored by the mainstream press. Not here. They’re not going to get away with it anymore, but I just want you to know.