The Rudy Gambit
December 10, 2007
By Bruce Walker
Rudy Giuliani is a hero to many Americans. He is a hero to many conservatives. Rudy is also a big headache to many conservatives. They like Rudy, but they are troubled by his position on social issues like abortion and gay rights. Even while social conservatives appreciate the candidness of Rudy on these issues, they cannot help but be troubled by those positions. What can Rudy do?
What could President Giuliani do about those issues? Almost nothing, really. Issues important to social conservatives have long ago been hijacked by a rogue judiciary. What the president or even Congress does about those issues does not matter much. So what candidate Rudy or President Giuliani wants to do about abortion, gay rights and related issues is largely irrelevant. The only decision that Giuliani or any other candidate or president can do about those issues is pick the right people to serve on the Supreme Court. And Rudy has promised, sort of, to pick the right jurists for the court. What more can he do?
Here is a thought: flout convention, throw away precedent and ignore accepted practice. Instead, hold a press conference soon, at a politically opportune time, and make the following sort of statement:
"I realize that many social conservatives like me in many ways, but not my position on social policies related to abortion and gay rights. I want to reassure those social conservatives that I would be a good president for them, but there is only one way to really give those good people the sort of assurance they need to wholeheartedly support my candidacy. Tonight I am going to give social conservatives an iron clad guarantee that a Giuliani Presidency will be good for them in every way.
"The Supreme Court really decides the sorts of social issues that concern conservatives. I have promised to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who are like Sam Alito and John Roberts, men I know well and respect immensely. But there is something in American politics today which makes 'justices like Sam Alito' sound hollow. Social conservatives are used to being tricked. I have thought about it and decided that there is only one way that I can perfectly allay the very real fears of these conservatives. I am announcing today, right now, without reservation exactly who I will put on the Supreme Court, if I have the good fortune to become President Giuliani.
"I realize that nominees and presidents have not traditionally announced ahead of time who they would appoint to the Supreme Court, but as an attorney and as someone who has appointed judges himself, I find nothing unethical, nothing immoral, nothing wrong with doing just what I am about to do. Why shouldn't the American people know ahead of time whom the man who would be president will put on the highest court on the planet? Not only am I going to tell the American people that right now, but I challenge my competitors for the Presidency, not just Republican competitors but also Democrat competitors, to trust the American people enough to share the names of the men and women who they intend to place on the Supreme Court.
"The first person I will nominate to the Supreme Court is federal Judge Miguel Estrada. His life story is the American Dream for immigrant Americans. If anyone questions his jurisprudential brilliance, now is the time to ask those questions. If anyone questions his character, now is the time to ask those questions. If I am elected, then the American People will not just have elected me to the Presidency, but they will have endorsed Miguel Estrada as the first Hispanic to serve on our highest court.
"The second person I will nominate to the Supreme Court is Justice Janice Rogers Brown of the California Supreme Court. She, too, is a live study in the American Dream. When the Senate confirms her, she will be the first black woman on the Supreme Court, just as Miguel Estrada will be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.
"After these two worthy jurists, I will appoint Priscilla Owen and then Charles Pickering and then Ted Olson to the Supreme Court. These worthy individuals have the right stuff to make great Supreme Court justices. I am naming my nominees now because I trust the American people, and I challenge Hillary and the other Democrat candidates to trust the American people as much as I do. My cards are on the table for everyone to see."