On Deck Again: One of Democrats' Favorite Clinton Foes

What impeachment? Christine Rogan, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and James Rogan at a White House Christmas party in 1999.
What impeachment? Christine Rogan, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and James Rogan at a White House Christmas party in 1999. (The White House)
By Al Kamen
Monday, November 27, 2006

Outgoing Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) got a rousing ovation recently from the conservative Federalist Society when he said he would push for confirmation next month of a group of stalled Bush judicial nominees.

But Specter had to acknowledge that he was "not optimistic" about securing approval for most of the controversial names President Bush kicked back to the Senate -- a White House move that rankled Democrats.

Part of the problem is that when Congress waddles back for a quick lame-duck session next month, consensus nominations, not contentious ones, are the ones that are likely to get through.

Yet one of Bush's nominees, a former House member from California and a "manager" in the effort to impeach and remove President Bill Clinton from office, could very well be confirmed to a federal judgeship, even under a Democratic Senate next year.

James Rogan, who lost his seat in 2000 because of voter unhappiness over his impeachment efforts, was later confirmed by the Senate to head the Patent and Trademark Office. He's now a Los Angeles lawyer.

And, oddly enough, Rogan's got support from an unusual group of Clinton backers, including a California judicial vetting committee with members picked by liberal Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

Rogan even lists as references two of Clinton's lawyers in the impeachment battle, Lanny J. Davis and Lanny A. Breuer, who worked in the White House counsel's office.

Asked about this most unusual "kumbaya" spirit -- something long missing in this town -- Breuer said Rogan is "basically a good guy and a good public servant. Jim Rogan was dead wrong on the impeachment, but over the years I've gotten to know him and he's a fair and decent man, and I think he'll be a fine judge."

Davis, who was one of Clinton's most vociferous defenders back then, said Rogan called him "early on, not recently, and I said I would help him and I volunteered to call" the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), on his behalf. Rogan showed "poor judgment" on impeachment, "I haven't changed my mind on that," Davis said, but "he's a good Republican with unquestionable integrity, and I'm willing to step up."

On the other hand, there's a senator named Clinton who's going to have to approve the nomination. No word on her views; spokesman Philippe Reines said, in what the New York Daily News called "an icy statement," only that she'd take a look at it.

But even in the heat of House impeachment action seven years ago, we received a fine photo, we recall, of the Clintons and the Rogans getting close during a White House Christmas party. Look at all those grins.

'Now That We're Relevant . . .'

Despite all their talk about global warming, enviros are just this month coming in from years in a frigid political winter. And they're discovering that they are in need of some serious refresher drills if they hope to play in the big leagues.

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