Texas Republican Rep. [crscore]Louie Gohmert[/crscore] cautioned how hastily Supreme Court justices can be chosen when he recounted George H.W. Bush’s appointment of David Souter last weekend during a radio interview.
Gohmert, a former Chief Justice on Texas’s 12th Court of Appeals, told radio host Lars Larson Saturday that Bush narrowed down his high court choices to Souter and Edith Jones, a judge on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Gohmert described as “brilliant” and “extremely principled,” while “Souter was on the wrong side of everything for 20 years or so and of course he resigned so Obama could appoint his replacement.”
Gohmert also noted Jones is similar to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. According to Gohmert, a good friend told him that after H.W. Bush narrowed it down to Souter and Jones, he invited both to the White House.
“My friend said, ‘Well Louie, it apparently worse than you know. HW Bush could not make up his mind. He had both Souter and Edith come to the White House. And they were both sitting in the White House, and the president was trying to decide between them and was going to grab the one he decided on and walk out to the Rose Garden and say this is our nominee and he couldn’t decide,’” Gohmert said.
He explained, “And John Sununu from New Hampshire said, ‘I know you’re having a tough time deciding, and all I can say is my good friend and fellow home-person from my home state David Souter will never do you wrong. David Souter would be a great choice.’ So Bush said, ‘okay—alright’. So he grabbed Souter and went out to the rose garden instead of grabbing Edith Jones. I mean it was that close.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, son of George H.W. Bush, called his father’s choice “unfortunate” on CNN’s State of The Union.
“He wandered off into the liberal camp for sure,” the younger Bush said.
The “lesson learned” after Souter is that you appoint a jurist with “a proven, long standing record, a history you can point to,” Jeb Bush said. “That’s the Scalia approach. He was very consistent on his interpretation and his rulings. And that’s what we need.”
Souter replaced Justice Williams Brennan, an Eisenhower appointment, and retired in June 2009 and was replaced by Obama-appointee Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat remains vacant and Senate Republican leadership say they will not schedule any hearings for Obama Supreme Court appointments.