Avoiding Armageddon

So many of President Bush’s nominees have been so ideological, it’s easy to forget that the President knows how to find consensus on judges when he wants or needs to. He’s added appeals judges like Richard Wesley from New York, Allyson Duncan from North Carolina, and Carlos Bea from California. Those nominees were all Republicans, and all won support from homestate senators who are Democrats.

It’s telling, and not especially encouraging, that all of these selections were for circuits not up for grabs ideologically. The Second Circuit remains reliably moderate; the Fourth Circuit is extremely conservative; and the Ninth Circuit is so large that single appointments can’t make a huge mark. Bush’s willingness to seek consensus when it doesn’t much matter matters less hardly shows what he’ll do when it does matters most. But it’s something.

UPDATE: In the comments, Rachel made a good point. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

— Robert Gordon