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Martinez next Supreme Court Nominee?

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1. Mel Martinez Touted as Bush's Next Supreme Court Pick

President Bush's original choice of Judge John Roberts to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court took many observers by surprise.

Not NewsMax.

Last March, NewsMax Magazine's special edition "War for the Court" identified Judge Roberts among the leading contenders to fill a court vacancy.

And this past July, NewsMax's e-mail newsletter Insider Report revealed that though Bush had nominated Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Bush would likely move to pick Roberts for chief justice if Rehnquist retired or passed away.

Now another tidbit we hear from a good source is that Florida Senator Mel Martinez is on the short list to replace retiring Justice O'Connor.
Several factors augur well for a Martinez nomination.

Now serving his first term as Florida's junior senator, Martinez has an impressive background, including a Cabinet-level post in the first Bush administration, when he was the widely admired secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Moreover, as a refugee from Castro's Cuba who pulled himself up by his bootstraps to earn a law degree and win an election to a top job in Florida, he is a great example of the American dream.

When he nominated Martinez for the HUD post, President Bush himself said, "Since leaving his Cuban homeland as a boy, Mel Martinez has been the embodiment of the American dream and has had great success in helping the people of his community obtain affordable housing and urban services."

Martinez came to Florida from his native Cuba at age 15 as a part of "Operation Peter Pan," a humanitarian program led by the Catholic Church that helped over 14,000 Cuban children escape Communist Cuba. He lived with foster families for four years until he and his family were reunited in Orlando.

In addition to his amazing personal story, Martinez would be the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court.

President Bush has aggressively courted the Hispanic vote - and appointing Martinez would be a major step in cementing that relationship.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is said to be Bush's favorite for appointment to the high court.

But conservatives have expressed serious reservations about Gonzales and his moderate judicial views.

Martinez, a trial attorney by background, is known as a conservative who is also solidly pro-life in his views.

As for a Senate battle over his possible nomination, Martinez should get deferential treatment. When the president named him to the HUD post, for example, he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

As a member of the "club" of the Senate, it is doubtful he would get "Borked," even from the likes of Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer.

And with Republican governor Jeb Bush sitting in Tallahassee and able to appoint a successor to fulfill Martinez's term, the GOP would be able to hang onto his Senate seat to boot.

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