‘Top Line’ at the Movies: ‘Advise & Dissent’ and Supreme Court Confirmation Politics

By Matt Loffman

May 3, 2010 2:53pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Just in time for the latest round in the perpetual battle of Supreme Court confirmations, film festivals are featuring a new documentary profiling the three nominations — and two eventual confirmations — of President George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. David Van Taylor, the director of “Advise & Dissent,” got behind-the-scenes access to leading lawmakers –including Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy — plus key activists on both sides, such as (from the right) Manuel Miranda and (on the left) Ralph G. Neas. Among the lessons, Taylor told us today on ABC’s “Top Line,” is that there’s too much at stake for there not to be a pitched battle these days: “You’re definitely going to get is a lot of political contention no matter what,” he said. “President Obama … can nominate the most confirmable nominee possible, and that’s what President Bush thought that Harriet Miers was — he opted for Harriet Miers because he didn’t want a fight — and yet, there’s likely to be a fight anyway. There’s an election coming up. This is an issue that the Republicans particularly have made very successfully an electoral issue for their base, especially in the primaries.” “And so there’s going to be fights no matter what. What you can’t really predict is the nominee itself, him or herself, nor can you predict how open and honest a discussion of judicial philosophy there’s going to be.” The film is a timely look at the political stakes of a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court — plus the sometimes farcical dance that surrounds a Supreme Court confirmation in the modern media age. As Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., points out in a quote used the film’s trailer: “Anything you see the left doing, the right can do.” Watch the discussion with Taylor HERE. Also on today’s program, we recapped the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, plus brought some highlights from the red carpet, with Ana Marie Cox of GQ, who joined me interviewing the stars of Washington and Hollywood Saturday night. Watch that discussion HERE.

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