Weld and Fried: New darlings of Massachusetts liberals
Yesterday’s separate endorsements of Barack Obama by former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld and Harvard Law School professor Charles Fried add to the growing roster of prominent Republicans who have jumped over the wall to back to the Democratic nominee. But Weld and Fried share more than that connection. Fried was a Harvard Law School professor of Weld’s, and in 1995, Weld nominated his mentor, a former solicitor general in the Reagan administration, to a seat on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.Fried faced a bruising confirmation battle, with a coalition of women’s groups, union leaders, and liberal activists vigorously opposing the conservative legal scholar’s nomination. Fried squeaked by on a 5-4 confirmation vote of the Governor’s Council, with then-lieutenant governor Paul Cellucci casting the tie-breaking vote. "This is a guy who slithers around and changes his position when convenient," Sarah Wunsch, head of the anti-Fried "Committee for a Just Supreme Court," told the Boston Globe at the time. Today’s position change by Fried is being lauded by liberals as a principled act of courage.
Fried, who left the court in 1999 to return to Harvard, had served on several McCain campaign committees until his announcement this week, in which he cited McCain’s selection of running mate Sarah Palin as one of the factors that drove his decision.