In an effort ensure confirmation of his first batch of federal appeals court nominees, President Bush announced a diverse list of candidates that includes two men originally nominated by former President Clinton, two African Americans, three women and one Latino. Excluding the two Clinton nominees, the remainder has strong right wing credentials. One has argued against separation of church and state and believes religious institutions should have more access to federal funds. Another has ties to the tobacco industry and fought against limiting cigarette advertising. Several are members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal community who helped Bush shape his list of nominees. Democratic senators promised intense scrutiny of all nominees in retaliation for the blocks Republicans put up against many Clinton federal judicial nominees.
Miguel Estrada has been called an “outspoken conservative” and is a partner in the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher law firm that represented Bush at the U.S. Supreme Court during the post election legal fight. He believes in reading the “plain language” of the Constitution–a philosophy supported by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Roger Gregory, an African-American man, was originally nominated by Clinton, but blocked by Senate Republicans.
Barrington D. Parker, an African-American man, was also appointed by Clinton but never confirmed.
Edith Brown Clement is a current district judge in Louisiana and a Federalist Society member.
Terrence W. Boyle was nominated by former President George Bush, but was never confirmed. He is a former aid to Jesse Helms (R- NC).
John G. Roberts was also nominated by former President Bush, was a clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, former deputy solicitor general under Kenneth Starr and has been called “outspokenly conservative.”
Jeffery Sutton has argued for states rights over the federal government’s rights, is a member of the Federalist Society, and argued on behalf of tobacco companies against Massachusetts’ law restricting cigarette advertising.
Deborah Cook is an Ohio Supreme Court Justice, is active in the Ohio Republican party, and is a member of the Federalist Society. Dennis Shedd was appointed to federal district court by Bush senior, and is a former aid of Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC).
Priscilla Owen was only the second woman elected to the Texas Supreme Court.
Michael McConnell, a law professor at the University Utah, has argued that courts have been too rigid in striking down programs because they violate the Constitution’s separation of Church and state. He also favors federal money being used more freely by religious institutions.