Greg Sargent observes that it’s not clear how Arlen Specter would weigh one of the judges doubtless on the shortlist for the Souter seat:
Earlier this year, Specter came out strongly against the nomination of Elena Kagan, Obama’s pick for the post of Solicitor General. Kagan is one of several people who’s being talked about as a potential Supreme Court pick for Obama.
This doesn’t bode well for Dems. Specter raised concerns about Kagan’s positions on the death penalty, her earlier work for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, her claim that Ginsberg is a “moderate,” her views on judicial activism, and other things, according to his written questions for her at the time.
While Specter didn’t ultimately pass judgment on her answers, he rejected her because he maintained she hadn’t answered his questions to his satisfaction, and his line of questioning suggests a hostility to anyone with liberal to moderate legal views.
Indeed, Specter was pretty elusive on why he opposed her, which also suggests that he’d be unreliable at best as an ally in the Supreme Court fight.
But, of course, he could change his mind, just like he did about his heartfelt desire to be a Republican. And really, who knows what he thinks? What is his philosophy? This report calls him schizophrenic.
But I’m sure Specter is smart enough to know that if he hopes to win the Democrats’ support in Pennsylvania he’ll need to put aside whatever views he has (he does have them, I suppose) to support the pick of his new party’s president. It’s one thing to vote against Obama’s budget and cram-down mortgages, and oppose card check; it’s another to vote against a Supreme Court nominee. Democrats have some standards, after all.