DC rumor mill: Prez has narrowed down USSC choices

Appeals court judges Michael Luttig and Samuel Alito are rumored to be on the list of strong possibilities:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush on Saturday was narrowing his choices of Supreme Court nominees to replace Harriet Miers as Republicans said the short list consisted of highly credentialed, solidly conservative judges.

Among the candidates most talked about were appeals court judges Michael Luttig and Samuel Alito. Bush, who is spending the weekend at his Camp David retreat, was expected to unveil his choice within days.

FYI, here’s more on Judge Michael Luttig (see here as well) and Samuel Alito …. even more on Alito here:

Nicknamed “Scalito” for views resembling those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. is a favorite son of the political right. Appointed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and polite but frequent dissent in a court that has been historically liberal. His mettle, as well as a personable demeanor and ties to former Republican administrations, has long had observers buzzing about his potential rise to the high court. “Sam Alito is in my mind the strongest candidate on the list,” says Pepperdine law Prof. Douglas Kmiec. “I know them all . . . but I think Sam is a standout because he’s a judge’s judge. He approaches cases with impartiality and open-mindedness.”

The Reuters article went on to report:

A source close to the selection process who spoke on condition of anonymity said avoiding a battle with Democrats, who have warned Bush about picking a right-wing activist, would not be the president’s top priority.

Luttig, 51, a judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, worked as a clerk for Scalia when Scalia was an appeals court judge.

He helped in the effort to get Thomas and Supreme Court Justice David Souter — both nominated to the high court by Bush’s father — confirmed by the Senate. Luttig also has worked in the Justice Department and private practice.

Alito, 55, is sometimes given the nickname “Scalito” — a comparison to Scalia, who shares his Italian heritage as well as his reputation for conservatism and a strong intellect. He is a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

I’m betting the nomination is announced tomorrow.

Hat tip: Rob at Say Anything.

(Cross-posted at Blogs For Bush)

Minnesota vs. Carolina

Game is starting now

To any ST readers who are MN fans (including you, Ryan :)): don’t think this game is a lock for the Panthers. Jake Delhomme has been wobbly this year, and even though our record looks good, the stats show a bit of a different picture.

Obviously, I hope the cats win today but I by no means think it’s a given.

Update: Eeeep! I need to update the time change on this blog … I actually posted this around 1 ET.

Update II: Hooray – we won :)

Ex-Engineer Charged With Selling Secrets

So reads the headline at CBS News. The story:

(AP) An engineer who called himself the father of the technology that protects the B-2 stealth bomber from heat-seeking missiles has been arrested and accused of selling U.S. military secrets involving the aircraft to a foreign country, the FBI said.

Noshir S. Gowadia, 61, of Haiku, was arrested Wednesday in Honolulu.

According to the FBI, Gowadia in 2002 faxed a document detailing infrared technology classified top secret by the Air Force to a foreign official. He also provided classified information to two other countries, the FBI said.

The government would not identify the countries or disclose how much he allegedly received.

“Suffice it to say that this is a very sensitive, ongoing investigation,” said Charles Goodwin, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Honolulu office, fending off most questions at a news conference Thursday.

Gowadia, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in India, was jailed without bail on a charge of willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Gowadia was an engineer with Northrop Grumman Corp. from 1968 to 1986 and helped design parts of the B-2’s propulsion system that make it difficult for enemy missiles to detect the bomber. The technology remains highly classified.

According to an affidavit filed Wednesday by the FBI, Gowadia marketed himself to foreign officials and other foreigners as the “father” of the B-2’s unique infrared suppressing propulsion system.

Since the talking point of the moment for the media seems to be ‘we should really be concerned about anyone who deliberately works to harm our national security’ this story should be on the front of every major newspaper in the country.

I won’t hold my breath, though.

Thanks to ST reader Dan for the heads up about this story.

Help an Iraq war veteran

Read the story of Iraq war veteran Sgt. Walt Gaya here.

For those of you who follow Michael Yon’s blog faithfully, you may already know him from this post, where Yon provided the following description back in July of this year:

There was Walt Gaya, from Argentina originally, but proudly serving in the American Army. A photographer who plans to study photojournalism when he gets home, Walt had taught me some important things about photography. But the first thing I learned is that he doesn’t like digital cameras. Doesn’t like the quality. Walt shoots in black and white, with this little Leica film camera that costs more than some fishing boats.

Walt’s eyes serve him well as a sniper, and though some people call enemy snipers cowards, anyone who knows anything about war knows that it takes guts to be a sniper, no matter what team you are on. I get the strange feeling that he’ll become a great photojournalist, if he survives the war. But for now, something bigger than the future holds him here.

Walt doesn’t talk about it, but the first thing to draw the eye in his room is the small shrine he keeps for his roommate, “Plum,” who was killed in battle. Walt misses Plum immensely.

The Recon platoon is comprised mostly of young men. Combat has padded the age of most of these veterans, although you wouldn’t know it from the ferocity of the fight still in them. Along with Plum, they lost another buddy, Benjamin “Rat” Morton, who was killed on a raid not long ago. In fact, of fifteen snipers in the company, five have been killed, and nearly all the rest have been wounded.

Walt is one of 11 Deuce-Four soldiers scheduled to receive their US citizenship in a ceremony in Baghdad on 25 July. This long and bureaucratic process will allow some of our soldiers fighting for Iraq and the United States to become American citizens, and partake in the democratic process and freedoms that allow people like me to roam the planet and write.

While the sun was still rising into the day, I made an appointment to see Walt later that night to look at some of his new black and white prints. When we said goodbye, neither knew that he would not return from his mission that night.

Read the whole thing – and then read below and find out why Gaya needs our help:

The attack had also upturned other parts of his life. The Argentina-born immigrant, who moved to the United States as a child, was injured just eight days before he was to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen in a ceremony in Iraq.

Now, he’s in a bureaucratic black hole: Federal immigration officials wouldn’t renew his permanent resident card or tell him when he could reschedule the swearing-in ceremony. No one at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office could tell him what to do next to get his citizenship papers, or even how to renew his immigration documents.

One day, as he was moving furniture at Fort Lewis, he found a copy of an old newspaper with a photograph of soldiers at the citizenship ceremony in Iraq that he had missed.

He tossed it aside and kept working.

Sondra K. has urged her readers to spread the word about this and write your congressman (House link here, Senate link here) to see what they can do about helping Gaya obtain his U.S. citizenship.

Hat tip: ST reader Stoo, who I am hereby affectionately labelling “da man” (since the “darling Stoo” label has already been taken by Sondra K. ;))