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Public says “confirm conservative nominee”

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2005

This Rasmussen poll (HT: Power Line) bodes ill for the Democrats: 

If President Bush nominates a qualified conservative to serve on the Supreme Court, 58% of Likely Voters say that Senate Democrats should vote to confirm that nominee.

A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 24% believe that Harry Reid’s party should oppose such a nominee.

Republicans and unaffiliated voters strongly support confirmation. Democrats are evenly divided–43% say their Senators should vote to confirm while 38% take the opposite view.

The divide among Democrats is strictly along ideological lines–58% of liberal Democrats want their party to oppose confirmation of a qualified conservative. 56% of moderate and conservative Democrats take the opposite view.

So, even among Democrats, only 38% want to see their party block Bush nominees on ideological grounds.

Despite the fact that the left has done everything it can to demonize "conservative" (really, "originalist" or "strict constructionist") judges, including flat-out lying about what they said:

Now, Justice Scalia is not one to sugar coat (or sugar quote) things and he doesn’t mind saying and writing the controversial. So, when I saw the following quote attributed to him, on a site of a lawyer I generally trust but disagree with, and that quotation included a cite to a Supreme Court case, I figured it must be an accurate quote.

"Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached." –U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Herrera v. Collins, 506 US 390 (1993).

Oh my, there’s a blockbuster of a quote. My initial inclination was to wonder what side of the bed Nino woke up on that morning or what the context could possibly be. …

So, what did Scalia really mean? Helpfully, a citation to the appropriate Supreme Court case was provided. So, I figured I’d better read what Scalia wrote. Surely, he must have preceded the quote with some context that might make clear that his meaning isn’t that it is morally OK to execute the innocent. But he didn’t.

In fact, he never wrote that sentence. And there is no evidence he ever said it.

It’s made up.

It’s fake.

It’s bullshit.

But that’s OK in this day and age. What’s the problem with a little dishonesty and character assassination in the name of political partisanship? …

The case (see citation link above) is actually rather interesting. Ten years after his murder conviction, Herrera came up with new "evidence" (affidavits from friends) that it was his recently deceased brother who committed the crime for which he was convicted (a cop shooting; Herrera had pled guilty to shooting a second cop).

The Court ruled 6-3 (Blackmun, Stevens, and Souter dissenting) not to grant federal habeas relief. Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion, which reaffirmed Justice Holmes’ contention (Moore v. Dempsey, 1923) that the issue in habeas review "is not the petitioners’ innocence or guilt, but solely the question whether their constitutional rights have been preserved."

In the words of the recently-sainted Justice O’Connor, who wrote a concurring opinion joined by Kennedy:

Consequently, the issue before us is not whether a State can execute the innocent. It is, as the Court notes, whether a fairly convicted and therefore legally guilty person is constitutionally entitled to yet another judicial proceeding in which to adjudicate his guilt anew, 10 years after conviction, notwithstanding his failure to demonstrate that constitutional error infected his trial. …

… Indeed, as the Court persuasively demonstrates, ante, at 398-417, throughout our history, the federal courts have assumed that they should not and could not intervene to prevent an execution so long as the prisoner had been convicted after a constitutionally adequate trial. The prisoner’s sole remedy was a pardon or clemency.

O’Connor also reviewed the original evidence against Herrera (overwhelming) and the new "evidence" (laughably inconsistent and unconvincing) and concluded that his claim of innocence was, in any case, nonsense. I agree.

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