Bill Kristol Vowed "Let's Have A Referendum...In 2006 And 2008" On Supreme Court Nominations

06/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Media Matters yanks this gem from their archives, in which Fox News Sunday's regular group panel weighs in on the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito. As you can see, not much has changed! Juan Williams is still framed mostly in the traditional two-shot that allows Bill Kristol to smirk snidely at him while he speaks, and Brit Hume is the harrumphing Napoleon Dynamite figure we still love today. But, okay, the substance!

Worth remembering about these bygone days was the ridicule Kristol heaped on the Democrats' objections to Samuel Alito, and the way he sets up the rules of engagement: that a man of Alito's baseline qualities shouldn't be threatened with a filibuster! And heavens to Betsy! To block the nomination en masse, would just be obstructionist! "If the Republicans exploit this," Kristol warns, "The Republicans can make the case that the Democratic party is the party that stands against men like Alito being judges." Mind you, I don't think anyone seriously believes that they shouldn't be girding themselves for a knock-down drag-out fight over Souter's replacement -- the GOP has already officially deemed a potential SCOTUS fight to be the magical pony silver lining of Specter bolting the party.

The key exchange, however, is this:

WILLIAMS: But here's the thing. I think that when you think about Kerry's position, I think, Bill Kristol, you know, you have to acknowledge that Samuel Alito is not President Bush's choice. He's not Alberto Gonzales. He's not Harriet Miers. It was an ideological selection made by the president to satisfy -- you talk about the left-wing base -- to satisfy the right-wing base. And I think that's what we've got now, and that's why you've got most Democrats -- you know, half of the Democrats said OK to John Roberts. That's not the case here.

KRISTOL: Because Roberts was replacing Rehnquist. And Alito will move the court a click back in the conservative or constitutional direction. And let's have a referendum on that.


KRISTOL: Let's have a referendum on that in 2006 and 2008. Do they want a liberal Supreme Court, or do they want a moderately conservative Supreme Court?

WILLIAMS: That's called a presidential election. So he gets to make the choice, unless, of course, he's forced by his base, which is what he was forced to do with Alito.

Well, as far as referenda go, I'd say the majority opinion couldn't be clearer!


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