Who Will Be Supreme?

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • June 17, 2005

by Karen Feld


Insiders tell me that there will be a new face on the Supreme Court come the first Monday in October. I hear that President Bush plans to name a new chief justice before the end of the month. Justice William Rehnquist’s health is failing – he’s undergone cancer treatment – and he plans to retire at the end of this court session. The short list of names includes sitting conservatives such as Associate Justices Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas (a downside is that then the president’s choices would have to undergo two sets of confirmation hearings) or possibly someone not on the court.

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Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist is pushed in a wheelchair on Capitol Hill on May 23 after his visit to the Capitol Medical Department.

If the latter is the case, odds favor someone of Hispanic heritage – possibly Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or D.C. attorney (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher) Miguel Estrada, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and an assistant solicitor general during the Clinton administration, who withdrew his name after being nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Capital classics and comments

Motion Picture Association of America head honcho Dan Glickman and Margaret Carlson, Washington editor of The Week magazine, hosted a dinner and screening at the MPAA – the first of a series rotating politicos and films – only hours after the Michael Jackson verdict was announced. This being Washington, everyone had an opinion: Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., was shocked; Solicitor General Ted Olson called it a “celebrity verdict.” Margaret Carlson: “They wanted to convict the parents and let Michael go.”

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Cox’s “Dog Days”

Blogger Ana Marie Cox, perhaps best known as Wonkette, was more involved in her own world. She said she’s two-thirds of the way through her novel called “Dog Days” to be published by Hyperion. She assured Campari he wasn’t the protagonist – it’s about August in Washington. “That’s when things get pretty weird here,” she said. And as for a comment on fellow blogger Jessica Cutler’s so-called novel, “The Washingtonienne”: “It’s pretty weird,” too.

Graham’s “Seven Days in May”

This wasn’t an evening for speeches on piracy, but rather the first in a quarterly series of dinners followed by one senator selecting his favorite film for the guests to view. Sen. Graham selected “Seven Days in May” – the 1964 film about an attempted military coup in the U.S. – which he’s seen a half-dozen times. “Everyone can pick their own good and bad guy in the movie, their own Rumsfeld,” Graham said. And if you don’t like it: “Movies are a lot like the Senate,” he said. “The guy next to you may be asleep.”

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But this movie, Graham thinks, is still relevant today. Graham, who was a colonel in the Air Force, quipped, “I may be going to Iraq if they run out of people.” Guests included: Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and his wife, Susan Blumenthal; Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley and husband Smith; Ted Olson with Lady Booth; attorney Bob Barnett and Rita Braver; Time Warner’s Susan Brophy; Frank Coleman; Carl Leubsdorf; and John Dickerson.

Politico celebs, hmmm …

Here’s more on the Fonda/Streisand teaming I told you about last week. Jane Fonda will be the host/emcee while Barbra Streisand and other celebs perform – all to raise money for the Democrats. They’re talking 18 stadiums in 18 cities. You’d think that they would learn a lesson from Bruce Springsteen that this doesn’t always work, but the Dems are strapped for cash and Barbra and Jane have taken it on themselves to ensure a Democratic victory next election.

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Addiction to Mic?

Liberal talk host Al Franken was Topic A at liberal talker Ellen Ratner’s party at Charlie Palmer’s earlier this week. Ellen is the Washington Editor of Talkers magazine, the trade journal of talk radio. The magazine hosted a talk radio conference for talk show hosts and radio executives in New York last weekend. Franken, the Air America star, as you’ve probably heard by now, had to be dragged off stage in the midst of his half-hour speech after accepting a Freedom of Speech award. In his rant he attacked Bill O’Reilly and the Iraq war. Mike Harrison, publisher of Talkers, told me that Franken “sort of apologized – said he regretted it” – to him personally, but added, “He’s a smedrick,” but Harrison moves on “to the next issue of Talkers Magazine.” He assured me it wasn’t the content that was the problem; it was Franken’s addiction to the microphone. “He said he lost track of the time,” Harrison said.

On to more Pressing talk

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Talker Bill Press’ new radio show, “The Bill Press Show,” officially begins Monday on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. But one station in Akron, Ohio, didn’t want to wait for the launch date, so Press began what he’s dubbed “Radio Free Ohio” two weeks ago. He’s had every Ohio politician on as a guest but told me he’d really like to do a jailhouse interview with the outrageous former Ohio Rep. Jim Traficant. Talking about talking: Press did three early-morning hours straight without calls in Ohio.

Call him “Mr. Ambassador”

Restaurateur Roberto Alvarez, whom we all know as co-owner of Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico and Zaytinya, has been appointed – and is waiting to be confirmed – by the president of the Dominican Republic to represent his country in Washington as ambassador to the Organization of American States.

Maestro’s special baton

National Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin is now in the company of Isaac Stern, Beverly Sills and Leonard Bernstein. He was given the Gold Baton, the highest honor of the American Symphony Orchestra League, on Wednesday evening.

Sightings: First lady Laura Bush at Red Sage Monday evening enjoying her share of Southwestern cuisine … Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who was on the PGA Tour and won the Booz Allen Classic, at Morton’s in Bethesda … General Electric CEO Jack Welch and his wife, Suzy, of “Winning,” at the lobby bar in the Mandarin Oriental.

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