How the Justice Confirmation Game is Played

Prepare for a spectacle as the 3 branches, special interests collide
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 12:20 PM CDT
President Obama, in a unexpected visit to the White House pressroom Friday, tells reporters that he just got off the phone with Supreme Court Justice David Souter about his retirement.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – The process of replacing David Souter has begun in earnest, so get ready for “Washington at its best (or worst, depending on your perspective),” writes Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. All three branches of government, and a boatload of special interests and egos, will brawl it out over the highest possible political stakes. So what differentiates a well-executed rollout (think John Roberts) from a disaster (remember Harriet Miers)? Glad you asked:

  • Obama must consult the Senate, especially the Judiciary Committee, first. He’s already talked to Orrin Hatch and Arlen Specter.
  • The nominee should assume everything he’s ever written could come out, and plan accordingly.
  • Interest groups must be accounted for. People for the American Way, Judicial Confirmation Network, and NARAL among others will be heard from.
  • Set a date for the hearing ASAP, so critics have less time to pile on.