August 31, 2007

Corrente over Flanders for the First Circuit Judgeship?

Carroll Andrew Morse

National Review Online Capitol Hill correspondent David Freddoso is reporting that President Bush is leaning towards appointing Robert Corrente to the First Circuit Court of Appeals over Robert Flanders, the choice recommended by former Senator Lincoln Chafee...

In March 2006, liberal former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) had been asked by the White House to submit three names as possible nominees, from which the President planned to choose. But Chafee, ever dodgy in his dealings with George W. Bush, only submitted one name, that of Flanders. An active member of the state GOP who is described by sources in the state as a “real Republican,” Flanders is also publicly supported by conservative Gov. Donald Carcieri (R.). He happens to be a personal friend of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), causing speculation that his confirmation would have been relatively easy.

But the White House was upset that Chafee submitted just one name, and interpreted this as an attempt by the senator to force President Bush’s hand. As a result, Flanders’s recommendation has languished for well over a year with no action taken. The administration is said to be leaning instead toward nominating Robert Clark Corrente, the current U.S. attorney from Rhode Island, whom Chafee had earlier recommended for a federal district judgeship.

A significant local impact of this decision may be its effect on Operation Dollar Bill, the Federal probe into corruption at the Rhode Island statehouse currently being led by Corrente.

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I’m sure Corrente is capable, but we have 14 indictments pending. I don’t think we need a change in that office at this time.

Posted by: WJF at August 31, 2007 8:38 PM


Patrick "pocket-of-the-public-unions" Lynch is still AG! Mr. Corrente is our only hope for justice in state politics.

Posted by: SusanD at August 31, 2007 8:53 PM

... 14 indictments. Really ...?

Posted by: SusanD at August 31, 2007 8:55 PM

14 indictments pending....
But too few.

Posted by: chuckR at August 31, 2007 9:12 PM

Call me an optimist

Posted by: WJF at August 31, 2007 10:18 PM

there should be enough material to keep a us attorney busy for the next 5 years

Posted by: johnpaycheck at September 1, 2007 4:54 AM

Think Sheldon Whitehouse would do all he could to help Robert Corrente's nomination sail through? Operation Dollar Bill has all the appearance of a Rhode Island Democratic party convention. Getting rid of the guy looking under all those rocks is very appealing to the Dems and given how Sheldon Whitehouse has tons of experience blocking corrupt probes both as Rhode Island AG and as US Attorney this would be a natural for him.
Gov. Carcieri better make some calls to Washington DC and very soon. He needs to make it understood what Corrente's office is into right now, ie a multi-directional corruption investigation and if Corrente is their choice then Bush needs to name a real hard a$$ to replace him. Losing Corrente will only be problematic if he's replaced with a Republican version of Sheldon Whitehouse aka a lazy inept empty suit.

Posted by: Tim at September 1, 2007 8:54 AM

Losing Corrente will only be problematic if he's replaced with a Republican version of Sheldon Whitehouse aka a lazy inept empty suit.
LOL. Bernie Jackvony. Dick Israel. Mike Levesque.

Posted by: Mike at September 1, 2007 10:49 AM

"Losing Corrente will only be problematic if he's replaced with a Republican version of Sheldon Whitehouse aka a lazy inept empty suit."

Better yet, Linc Almond... Wasn't he the prototype?

Posted by: Aldo at September 1, 2007 12:11 PM

Why take the chance?

We know Corrente is able and willing to take on RI corruption and the time Flanders spend on the Supreme Court showed us he has the courage to be a lone dissenter (something desperately needed on the 1st). Why on earth would we exchange that for an unknown justice and a prosecutor to be named later?

And since the Gonzales ousting, do we really think we can get another one as aggressive as Corrente?

Posted by: WJF at September 1, 2007 7:51 PM

"Gov. Carcieri better make some calls to Washington DC and very soon. He needs to make it understood what Corrente's office is into right now, ie a multi-directional corruption investigation"

And WJF correctly refers to Mr. Corrente's clear willingness to take on RI corruption.

While Justice Flanders was/is the correct person for the First Circuit position, in retrospect, it was understandable but wrong of Senator Chafee to handle the nomination in this way. But I hope President Bush will not punish all of Rhode Island for this mistake. There is no telling who Mr. Corrente's replacement will be and, more to the point, what his/her appetite would be to pursue corruption in the power-drunk General Assembly.

Governor Carcieri and the US Attorney, in different ways, are the two biggest (official) checks on the excesses of the General Assembly. Rhode Islanders certainly don't want to remove one of those two valuable checks and I would think also that the Governor would prefer not to be made the sole check, especially in a state where constitutional power continues to tilt heavily in favor of the legislative because the G.A. continues to flout the will of the people by arrogantly refusing to implement separation of powers.

Posted by: SusanD at September 1, 2007 9:06 PM

So . . . . you want the Gov. to call the Pres. to urge him to keep Corrente in place so he can push forward on investigations of Democrats? ? ?

Isn't that the inverse of what is alleged in the U.S. Attorney firings "scandal?"

Very unlikely that either the Gov. or the Pres. would participate in such a conversation at this time.

Posted by: brassband at September 1, 2007 9:32 PM

Neither Corrente or Flanders would have much trouble getting approved on their own merits, right?

But by waiting so long to make the appointment, the White House is risking that a Democratic-controlled Congress will impose a de-facto drop-dead date on judicial confirmations in general, and deciding to see if a Democrat gets elected President before approving anyone else.

So what's the purpose, from the WH's point-of-view, for this long delay in putting either name forward?

Posted by: Andrew at September 1, 2007 9:50 PM

"Among the ironies in the Flanders nomination is that both of the state’s Democratic senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, who defeated Chafee in November, support Flanders. Both said they have high regard for Flanders’ skills. 'He’s a very capable guy,' said Whitehouse."

Whitehouse is on the Judiciary Comm. This nomination could fly quite easily. I think SusanD nailed it. But we don’t have the luxury of “teaching a lesson” right now. Our window is closing on this opportunity.

Besides, it would be worth giving Chafee a pass just to watch Reed and Whitehouse try to weasel out of it.

Posted by: WJF at September 1, 2007 10:56 PM

Brassband, assuming you're not kidding, let's not be guided by the Democrats who are paying less and less attention to the Constitution.

What the Governor and the President choose to do or not do in a particular matter for whatever motivation is one thing, though I would hate to see anyone back off such an important matter because of that big mouth Schumer. But it unquestionably falls within the authority and purvue of the President to make these nominations.

Posted by: SusanD at September 1, 2007 10:57 PM

... ahem. I see that Senator Schumer is also on the Judiciary Committee.

Permit me to say that I used the term "big mouth" strictly in a joshingly friendly manner fully appreciating the Senator's renowned, broadminded sense of humor and am confident that he will be guided by Senator Whitehouse's opinion of Justice Flanders to do the right thing by Rhode Island.

Posted by: SusanD at September 1, 2007 11:09 PM

I have more on this here:


Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at September 2, 2007 3:46 PM

Bob Flanders would not have taken the Chair of the Board of Regents if he thought he would be appointed.

Posted by: Bob Walsh at September 2, 2007 5:41 PM

There is nothing to restrict Flanders from doing both. I expect he would do exactly that.

Posted by: WJF at September 2, 2007 8:31 PM
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