Balkinization  

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Edith Clement

JB

The A.P. reports that speculation is converging around Edith Clement of the Fifth Circuit. If so, this is completely in line with the reverse litmus test that I have predicted the Bush Administration will apply to its Supreme Court candidates.
Known as a conservative and a strict constructionist in legal circles, Clement also has eased fears among abortion-rights advocates. She has stated that the Supreme Court "has clearly held that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to have an abortion" and that "the law is settled in that regard."

This, of course, tells you nothing about how Judge Clement would decide the issues in the Ayotte case that the Court will decide next Term, what her interpretation of the undue burden test is, or indeed how much she would be willing to whittle away the abortion right in a series of cases over the next decade. Moreover, because she has a solid conservative reputation, she will not upset the Republican base as much as Gonzales did. Finally, she is likely to take relatively conservative stands on a wide range of issues outside of the abortion context.

All in all, a shrewd political choice for the President if he goes in this direction.


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