Edith Brown Clement? Will There be a Fight? Confirmed 99-0 in 2001 Makes It Tough. . .


There will be a great number of legal analysts who pore over the record of Edith Brown Clement to debate whether she is the next version of an ideologically-predictable Antonin Scalia or a more pragmatic Sandra Day O’Connor-type.
President Bush is allegedly primed to nominate her at 9 p.m. Eastern time tonight. Perhaps he will surprise us with a different choice, but TWN doubts it.
I don’t want to preempt the opposition to Clement if there is good reason to oppose her. I don’t know. However, she was confirmed 99-0 in 2001 to the appellate bench.
When anyone is confirmed unanimously, it makes it very difficult to undo the nomination unless high crimes or terrible behavior have occurred since that vote.
In the case of John Bolton’s confirmation vote for his previous position as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton was confirmed in a 57-43 vote which provided a base to begin a meaningful opposition operation.
In John Negroponte’s case, he was nominated by a 98-2 vote in the Senate for his current position after having received a 98-0 voice vote confirmation for the U.N. Ambassadorship (though three Senators voted against Negroponte in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings).
Bolton was the right target not only because he was the wrong man for this important job — but because there was a record of opposition to him. Negroponte, though many have problems with his role in Iran-Contra, has received overwhelming support in the Senate — and thus opposition to him could not be perceived credibly, no matter how hard Senator Ron Wyden tried to convince his colleagues otherwise.
Edith Brown Clement has the same sort of solid vote from the Senate in her dossier, and TWN predicts that beating her will not be something that Dems spend a lot of political capital on.
This doesn’t mean for a nanosecond that Bolton stands a better or worse chance than he did yesterday. He’s still in limbo — and the confirmation is clearly losing air, buzz, and luster.
— Steve Clemons