Friday, May 08, 2009
By Dan Eggen
The Washington Post
When John G. Roberts Jr. was nominated to the Supreme Court as chief justice, a pro-Republican group called Progress for America had $18 million in the bank.
Run by a lobbying firm with close ties to the Bush White House, the well-organized group had snatched up Internet domain names for dozens of potential court candidates, allowing it to launch a targeted Web site within minutes of the announcement. It went on to play a central role in winning confirmations for Roberts in 2005 and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in early 2006.
But Progress for America is now defunct and Republicans are in the political wilderness, leaving a smattering of opposition groups to make the conservative case against whomever President Obama chooses to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter.
Conservative groups concede that they have little chance of derailing Obama's choice, barring a scandal. But Supreme Court nominations have long been a rallying point and a fundraising opportunity for interest groups, particularly on the right. And now, at a time of ideological drift among Republicans, a loose coalition of conservative organizations has begun mapping strategies.
The goal, they say, is to fire up supporters and shake up the debate in the Democratic-controlled Senate, in part as preparation for other court fights to come....(Click for remainder.)