Friday, September 23, 2005

Subpar Partisanship

So five of eight Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were not comforted by John Roberts' artful, and wholly appropriate, dodges of judicial hypotheticals tossed his way like water balloons.

The five Democrats were not happily surprised by his admission early on in the confirmation hearings that, yes, Virginia, there is a right to privacy (even if that fantasy is not actually guaranteed by any specific language in the U.S. Constitution). They were equally unfazed when he assured them that his political leanings and religious convictions do not dictate his judicial actions.

Similarly, the five Democrats were unimpressed with Roberts' unequivocal brilliance, a man who rose to the top of his class at Harvard and later in law school. They were not bamboozled by his good reputation and the apparent dignity with which he has conducted himself in his short time on the appellate bench.

Apparently all that mumbo-jumbo was ephemera, hardly making an imprint when one of the scales of justice was weighted down by reams and reams of legal filings he had written more than 20 years ago when he was a young lawyer paid to represent the interests of an arch-conservative White House administration.

Because, as anyone who has ever revisited an old diary knows, the person you were in your 20s is invariably the same person you are when in your 50s, married and a father. I'm being sarcastic, by the way. Does the U.S. Senate believe that John Roberts is a Peter Pan never-grow-up type simply because he dresses his children as if they're all living in Victorian England?

One of the advantages of being a self-proclaimed moderate is the ability to chime in with a pox-on-both-your-houses schtick when called for. And it's called for now. The five Democratic Senators who voted "no" -- Dianne Feinstein, Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Joe Biden -- should be ashamed of such craven partisanship.

While they thankfully did not scuttle Roberts' opportunity to serve as the 17th chief justice to the Supreme Court, they had the chutzpah to vote against him for one breathlessly boorish reason. Not because he is some wild-eyed conservative activist, because he's not one of those -- well, not a wild-eyed activist, at any rate. And they didn't vote against because he isn't qualified or up to the demands of the job, because he clearly is those things.

No, they voted against John Roberts because he is a conservative Republican nominated for the post by a President they hate.

And so what will be their reaction if, as is likely, Dumbya now moves forward and replaces swing-vote Sandra Day O'Connor with another extremist Bork wannabe? What credibility will the Senate Democrats have when the White House really tries to cram an ideologue down their wizened throats and they start pouting like a child who doesn't get to ride the pretty pony on her birthday? George W. Bush is on a major losing streak these days, and rightly so. But Congressional Democrats have never understood the merits of not overplaying their hand.

Think, people. Think.


At 12:58 PM, Blogger Larry Mondello said...

God forbid a moderate would dare show his face in the partisanship of Congress. I am not a big Bush fan and would cringe at the thought of a Scalia or Thomas led court, but Roberts was very impressive.
Roberts dissapointed members of both parties during his confirmation hearing. For the Dems, they couldn't play gotcha with him, for many Repubs he wasn't conservative enough on the key issues (abortion) To me, that means he did everything right and I welcome him as chief justice.

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Red Dirt said...

That was a bracingly refreshing read.

At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Brett Thomasson said...

Wise & clear-headed observations. If more folks on all sides thought this way, then we'd have fewer idiots in positions of influence. But in order for them to think this way, we'd have to have fewer idiots in positions of influence...

At 11:45 PM, Blogger LiteraryTech said...


I'm sorry Chase. I just couldn't help it. Did you mention the United States Congress and credibility in the same sentence? Isn't that a grammatical error? And if it isn't, shouldn't it be a grammatical error? I mean really, of what significance is credibitility in this game? Did anyone seriously consider the credibility of any of the senate judicial committee members? And if they did, what was the significance? The reality is that in the current system, credibility is only as powerful as the latest soundbite times the consistency of all previous soundbites. If you have a negative rating, you must be Tom Coburn. If you have a postive rating, you must be John McCain. In any case, it doesn't matter for approval to SCOTUS as this is an inside game with a little teensy tiny window for us to look through.



Post a Comment

<< Home