Back on Tuesday, it was widely rumored that an attorney general nomination announcement was imminent — and that the nominee was going to be former Solicitor General Ted Olson (pictured at right, at his wedding last year).
But we had our doubts. We opined that Olson, confirmed as SG by a narrow 51-47 margin, might be a tough sell in a Democratic Senate.
That opinion looks increasingly solid. From today’s Washington Post:
The Senate majority leader said yesterday that Democrats would block former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson from becoming attorney general, kicking off a spirited nomination debate even before the White House has named a candidate.
“Ted Olson will not be confirmed,” Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement. “I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general.”
So it seems that, with respect to Ted Olson, the Dems are throwing down the gauntlet. Why so hostile? Are they upset they didn’t get invited to Olson’s fabulous, star-studded wedding?
More after the jump.
It also seems that the process of picking an AG nominee will take longer than expected:
White House officials said yesterday that President Bush has not yet chosen a nominee to replace [Alberto] Gonzales. A candidate will not be named until next week at the earliest, officials said.
Two other nominees mentioned in the Post piece are Judge William W. Wilkins, of the Fourth Circuit, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Judge Wilkins we could see. But Senator Hatch, despite being the most confirmable — as noted by the Times, “his Senate membership would be likely to make it far easier for him to win confirmation” — is probably too independent-minded to appeal to the White House.
We previously cited George J. Terwilliger III as a likely pick. At this point in time, he appears to remain in the running. And now that the New York Times editorial board has weighed in against him, condemning him as “far too partisan,” perhaps George Terwilliger will grow more popular among conservatives as an alternative to Theodore Olson — sort of like an “Olson Lite.”
But we don’t think the NYT’s disapproval of Terwilliger would stop his nomination. The Times cites no evidence in dismissing him as “too partisan.” Sure, he did some work on Bush v. Gore — but not as major or as high-profile as Ted Olson’s work on that landmark litigation. He knows how to reach across the aisle (as demonstrated by his recent appearance at the ACS convention). And as far as we know, no Democratic senators have weighed in against him, as Senator Reid did with respect to Olson.
Reid Says Senators Would Block Olson [Washington Post]
Bush Is Warned on a Gonzales Successor [New York Times]
Top Democrat Vows to Block Possible Bush Nominee [Reuters]
The Next Attorney General [New York Times]
Earlier: Who Will Be the Next AG? We’re Betting On Terwilliger
Lady and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Wedding Photos That Rock