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July 19, 2005

Edith v. Edith -- Enigma v. Sure Thing

LifeSiteNews, like most others in the conservative base, is coming up empty trying to figure out the judicial philosophy of possible USSC nominee Edith Clement:
Topping the list of potential female candidates, most agree, are the two Ediths - Edith Jones and Edith Clement. Both are perceived as top contenders for the position, although Clement had been presented as the favourite by mainstream new sources. Conservatives, however, agree that Jones would certainly be the better candidate of the two.

"Edith Jones has the sharper definition as a conservative, tagged as pro-life in her perspective," Hadley Arkes, a professor of jurisprudence at Amherst College, wrote last week for National Review Online. By all accounts Jones perfectly fits the constructionist, conservative mold which Bush has consistently pointed to as his model for choosing Supreme Court justices. Indeed, during a speech at Harvard in 2003 Jones expressed her strong desire for a return to the founding principles of the United States, saying that "unalienable rights were given by God to all our fellow citizens. Having lost sight of the moral and religious foundations of the rule of law, we are vulnerable to the destruction of our freedom, our equality before the law and our self-respect."

But the outspoken, indisputable nature of her 'right-wing', conservative philosophy is likely to draw fire from Democratic senators, making for a difficult battle to gain the senate's confirmation. For that reason many are pointing towards Edith Clement, who in many respects remains an ideological mystery, as the candidate that will likely be given a more peaceable reception by the senate. When Clement was appointed by Bush to the US Court of Appeals she was confirmed by the senate with a 99-0 vote.

Little is known or readily available about Clement's judicial philosophy. "She has not dealt, in her opinions, with the hot-button issues of abortion and gay rights; and she has stirred no controversies in her writings or in her speeches off the bench", remarked Arkes. However, that hasn't stopped the strongly pro-abortion, pro-gay 'marriage' group, People For the American Way (PFAW), from putting Clement on a list of judges that confirm their "worst fears." The reasons for their opposition to Clement, however, are decidedly unclear, proving just how ambiguous a candidate she is.

Indeed, conservatives seem to have their own reason to fear Clement; in the past Clement has expressed her belief that the Court has ruled on abortion, and that the Court's previous decision should stand.

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