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Monday, May 19, 2014

Courts - "Dan Coats had front-row seat to two U.S. Supreme Court nominations"

Dan Carden had this long story in the Sunday NWI Times - some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS | Hoosiers today know Dan Coats as their U.S. senator, but nine years ago his informal title was far more exotic — Sherpa.

Speaking recently to the Federalist Society of Indianapolis, Coats described his experiences guiding two of President George W. Bush's Supreme Court nominees through the Everest-like Senate confirmation process.

In 2005, Coats had been out of the Senate six years and just finished serving as U.S. ambassador to Germany when Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, asked Coats to help Harriet Miers win confirmation to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the nation's top court. * * *

[Although Miers ultimately withdraw from the nomination, Coats] was asked to stick around to help Bush's next nominee, New Jersey federal Judge Samuel Alito, win confirmation. It was an easier case to make, he said.

"I have not had the privilege of meeting a more brilliant jurist than Samuel Alito," Coats said. "His depth of character as well as his adherence to the Constitution and his demeanor, and the way in which he analyzed and came to his judicial decisions, was stunning."

Eighty-three of the 100 senators asked Coats for one-on-one meetings with the nominee. Coats sat beside Alito at each hour-long session and watched as the judge explained his legal philosophy, approach to the law and interpretation of past Supreme Court rulings.

"It was literally like taking a post-graduate course in constitutional law," Coats said. "Alito met every possible test in terms of experience and judicial acumen, his qualifications were beyond the ability of anyone to question them, and yet it was evident that storms were brewing in terms of trying to defeat his nomination."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 19, 2014 10:39 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts