The New York Times has a very good story about how the White House and Senate leadership are telling right-wing pressure groups to cool their jets and lay off Alberto Gonzales. But the piece is marred by this astonishing blind quote:
A senior White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity because most staff members are not authorized to speak about the vacancy, said the push against Mr. Gonzales would not influence Mr. Bush’s thinking. “He has talked at some considerable length about his view on who he thinks would be qualified to be a Supreme Court justice,” the official said. “And he’s going to make his decision in a deliberate manner.”
The official added, “At the end of the day, the president is going to decide this based on those principles, not from any pressure from the groups.”
This echoes the Times’ piece on Monday about the role of ideology in nominations hearings. It featured this gem:
A senior White House official, who insisted on anonymity in discussing the early phases of the nomination, echoed Mr. Sessions and other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, saying, “There has been a long-term standard that the appropriateness of questioning does not include asking judges to take specific sides or positions regarding cases they may hear one day.”
Come on. Why is self-serving spin and empty assertion being treated like a scoop? We all need help understanding the nomination process, but this isn’t helpful. As one well-known jurist, Judge Judy, puts the point: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.