The New York Observer reports:
More than the inability to influence Iraq policy or the President’s tax cuts, Chuck Schumer says that the single greatest failure of the Democrats as an opposition party was allowing Samuel Alito to join the Supreme Court.
“Judges are the most important,” said Mr. Schumer, who orchestrated the implausible Democratic takeover of the Senate last week. “One more justice would have made it a 5-4 conservative, hard-right majority for a long time. That won’t happen.”
From now on, all the President’s judicial appointments will need to meet the requirements of Mr. Schumer, the Park Slope power broker who has happily accepted the mantle of chief architect for the Democrats’ effort to build a majority for the 2008 elections and beyond.
Unfortunately, this is indeed what was lost when Republicans could not hold on to the Senate. Schumer is no idiot. He understand perhaps better than anyone in his party that the liberal agenda will die without activist liberal judges. His threat to veto the next Alito is not idle and should Bush get the opportunity to nominate another conservative to the court, it will take a minor miracle to overcome the Senate’s new liberal overlords.
Here is a scarier scenario than a liberal filibuster: the White House, recognizing this threat, could decide to capitulate and nominate a liberal. Not only would that eviscerate the progress conservatives have made with the Supreme Court, it would irreparably damage the Republican coalition for decades to come.
And don’t think Schumer doesn’t know all of this.