Supreme Court Nominations

White House Counsel Bauer Learns from Sotomayor Confirmation Problems


White House counsel Bob Bauer and his wife, the former communications director for President Obama, will both have a role in the effort to win confirmation for the next Supreme Court nominee.

Bauer will oversee the entire White House confirmation effort, while his wife, Anita Dunn, will coordinate campaigns in support of the nominee by liberal advocacy groups, the New York Times reports.

The newspaper describes Bauer as “a curly-haired, bespectacled 58-year-old who blends wry humor (his pun-offs with Obama senior adviser David Axelrod are legendary in the White House) with political savvy and legal smarts.” Before taking on the new job, Bauer, a lawyer at Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., had been “the Democrats’ go-to guy for campaign finance and ethics advice,” the story says.

After being named White House counsel in December, Bauer quickly held discussions to learn how to avoid the public relations mistakes surrounding the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Times says. He decided on this course of action: Advocacy groups would be warned not to float names in the press. The president’s deliberations would be strictly secret. And the administration would aggressively respond to attacks on potential nominees.

So far, the Times says, Bauer’s strategy is going according to plan.

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