PERRELLI AND SCHIAVO…. Republicans on the Hill want to re-litigate the Elian Gonzales affair and the Marc Rich controversy, so it stands to reason that some conservatives still want to talk about the Terry Schiavo matter.

Social conservatives and pro-life activists are mobilizing against President-elect Barack Obama’s pick Monday for the No. 3 Justice Department job, a lawyer who aided the effort to remove Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube during the landmark right-to-die case four years ago.

It is unusual for special interest groups to wage a fight over a sub-Cabinet appointment, but conservatives eager to press the Republican Party to mount some form of opposition to the emerging Obama administration say Thomas J. Perrelli’s resume as a private lawyer and his appointment Monday as the nation’s associate attorney general may provide the rallying cry. […]

[Perrelli’s] high-profile role in the Schiavo case in 2005 stirred instant vitriol among pro-life and socially conservative activists who ordinarily focus their energies on judicial nominees.

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, derided Mr. Perrelli’s selection as “just another death-peddler Obama has added to his list of nominees.” She said he’s earned the nickname among pro-lifers of “Piranha Perrelli” for his work on the case.

The Family Research Council’s Tom McClusky noted that several end-of-life questions may reach the Justice Department in the coming years, and Perrelli’s role might make it more difficult for the conservative argument to prevail.

Imagine that.

Lafferty added that while the Schiavo case is still a hot-button issue for many conservative activists, some senators “are skittish about the whole thing” and may be reluctant to go after Perrelli for having worked on the case.

Imagine that.

Update: Amanda Terkel, who was writing about this at the same time I was, adds, “Reviving the Schiavo case may not be the best decision. After all, 63 percent of the public supported the removal of the feeding tube. More importantly, 70 percent said it was inappropriate for the federal government to involve itself in the case, and 67 percent believed that these politicians were ‘trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.’”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.