President Bush should consider appointing his former energy secretary to the U.S. Supreme Court because he's qualified and would be a hard nominee for his former Senate colleagues - even Democrats - to oppose, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis said Friday.
Spencer Abraham so far has not shown up on any of the short lists to replace outgoing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But Anuzis said Abraham's name has come up in top Republican circles. Abraham represented Michigan in the U.S. Senate from 1995-2000, when he was defeated by Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Bush named him energy secretary shortly after that, and he resigned at the end of Bush's first term, having served in the post longer than any of his predecessors.
He currently serves as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy center at Stanford University. He recently was named co-chair of the Committee for Justice, which is taking an active role in supporting John Roberts' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan has been mentioned as a possible O'Connor replacement, but state Republicans oppose that move because Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm would name her replacement and a replacement for Justice Elizabeth Weaver, who has talked of retiring yet this fall.
Adding two Democrats to the court would change the current 5-2 GOP majority into a 4-3 Democratic one. Anuzis said Corrigan is qualified to sit on the nation's highest court, but he added that Abraham brings his own strengths as a conservative with experience in the Senate and in the Bush Cabinet.
Bush already has nominated Roberts to the Supreme Court to replace the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and is expected to move soon to name a replacement for O'Connor. Roberts is expected to win certain confirmation as the nation's 17th chief justice, even though a dozen Democrats already have indicated they'll oppose him.
Senate Democrats have warned they won't support a conservative to replace O'Connor, who often was a swing vote on the nine-member court. But Anuzis said Abraham's position as a former Senate colleague would make it harder for those Democrats to vote against him.
Anuzis said he has no assurances from anyone that Abraham will get anywhere near to being the nominee. But Anuzis said Abraham would be a good choice, even if he doesn't fit the mold of those being mentioned as possible nominees, Detroit Free Press reports.