Not literally — but he might as well have. From the Washington Post:
President Bush renominated six previously blocked candidates for federal appeals court yesterday, triggering the first real battle with ascendant Democrats since the midterm elections and signaling what could be the start of a fierce two-year struggle over the shape of the federal judiciary.
The move heartened conservatives who worried that Bush would scale back his ambition to move courts to the right and outraged liberals, who called it a violation of the spirit of bipartisanship promised since Democrats captured Congress. Both sides saw it as a possible harbinger for the remainder of Bush’s presidency, particularly if a Supreme Court vacancy opens.
Senator Schumer’s predictable reaction: he squealed like a stuck pig. “It’s a real slap in the face,” he said.
(C’mon, Senator Leahy, you’re the incoming Senate Judiciary Chairman. Why is Senator Schumer getting quoted in these articles instead of you? Tell your press people to get on the ball — or tell Chuck to back off a little. Don’t let him steal your thunder!)
The six resubmitted nominees included the four so-called “radioactive” nominees: William J. Haynes II (Fourth Circuit), William G. Myers III (Ninth Circuit), Terrence W. Boyle (Fourth Circuit), and Michael B. Wallace (Fifth Circuit). The other two nominees, Norman Randy Smith (Ninth Circuit) and Peter D. Keisler (D.C. Circuit), are far less controversial.
Our take: President Bush is trying to bargain with the Democrats, and resubmitting the six nominees is the equivalent of making a lowball offer. He knows the Dems won’t take it; but he’s left ample room for negotation.
By starting off the negotations at this price point, President Bush is hoping to get at least Smith and Keisler confirmed. If the Democrats refuse to move on all six resubmitted nominees, they can be branded as obstructionist. Whereas if President Bush sent over only two nominees (Smith and Keisler), and the Senate did nothing, it wouldn’t look as bad as stalling on six — yes, six — judicial picks.
In addition, President Bush submitted four new judicial nominations to the Senate. But they’re nominees to district courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces — not so sexy. (In case you’re curious, their names are in the White House press release.)
Bush Renominates Judicial Picks [Washington Post]
Bush to Put Nominations Back on Table [New York Times]
Don’t Despair: Strong Justices Can Still Be Confirmed [National Review]
Nominations Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Earlier: Some Ruminations on Nominations