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If President Bush wants to be remembered by everyone for doing something courageous, he ought to choose a moderate to replace Justice O'Connor on the Supreme Court.
By RICHARD AMRHINE
Bush has said he highly admires Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the two most conservative members of the court. Both have voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, punt racial affirmative action, and allow almost any government aid to religious schools.
If he appointed one or the other chief justice, the predictable political battle could draw attention away from whomever he nominates as a replacement. He would be better off diverging from the Reagan parallel and looking outside the court to find a new chief who is a consensus builder.
The president should remember that his right-wing supporters represent only a fraction of his constituency. He says he wants to represent all Americans, and this is his opportunity to prove it.
President Bush could stabilize Iraq, tame the federal deficit, and even become a great orator, but if he bows to the right on his Supreme Court nominees, his legacy will be one of political cowardice.
RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.