President Bush says Congressional Democrats should give his eventual Supreme Court nominee a fair and timely confirmation. While he considers his choices for the highest court, Democrats say the president should be spending more money to better secure American trains and buses, following the terrorist attacks on London's public transportation system.
President Bush has already consulted with more than 60 members of the U.S. Senate, as he considers a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced earlier this month that she would retire.
The president says he appreciates the senators' opinions and recommendations. And, once he makes his choice, Mr. Bush wants senators to give his nominee fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote.
"My nominee will be a fair-minded individual, who represents the mainstream of American law and American values," said Mr. Bush. "The nominee will meet the highest standards of intellect, character and ability, and will pledge to faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country."
In his weekly radio address, President Bush recalled the confirmation hearings for the last two Supreme Court justices under former President Clinton. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer both won wide, bi-partisan support, and were confirmed less than 100 days after their names were submitted to the Senate.
President Bush says Americans expect a confirmation process that rises above partisanship. The president has had trouble winning approval from Democrats in the Senate for some of his lower court nominees.
Democratic leaders say they are working with the president on his Supreme Court nominee, and also hope the process can be completed in time for a new justice to be on the bench when the court reconvenes in October.
In the Democratic radio address, New Jersey Congressman Robert Menendez called on the Bush administration to increase funding for counter-terrorism. He says the president should be spending more to protect passengers on American trains and buses.
"The subway and bus bombings in London once again caught the world's attention, but were, unfortunately, just another reminder that public transportation is a favorite target for terrorists," said Congressman Menendez.
In the last four years, Mr. Menendez says, the government has spend about $9 per person on security for airline passengers, but only one-penny per person for those who travel on mass transit rail and bus lines.
The Democrat says what he calls President Bush's refusal to acknowledge this budgetary reality puts the lives of Americans needlessly at risk.
Since the London bombings, Congressional Democrats have increased their calls for more spending on security for mass transit, including more police, more dog patrols, more cameras and fencing and new sensors to detect explosives.
Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff Thursday said he has limited resources, and must set priorities to prevent attacks that would produce the highest number of casualties. Because most mass transit systems are largely controlled by state and local governments, he said, they should provide the majority of those security measures.
Democrats have long complained that the president's domestic counter-terrorism spending does not do enough to help local authorities with increased security.