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Thursday, July 21, 2005

DIONNE UNHINGED: Even the normally temperate E.J. Dionne sounds like he might be adjusting his own medication when he cites conservative praise of Roberts as reason for Democrats to ... play the Florida card:
Like the chief justice, Roberts has been a loyal Republican Party operative. He was reportedly involved in the Bush legal effort in 2000 to block further recounts in Florida. We always knew that the Supreme Court conservatives who helped put this president in office were paving the way for an even more conservative court. Roberts's nomination is the fruit of that effort. Surely he should be questioned closely about one of the most outrageous decisions in the court's history and his role in the Florida fiasco.
As if Bill Clinton's two Supreme Court appointments weren't liberal activists prior to their nominations? The problem is: They still are. Hey, E.J.: Really sure the American people want to hear Dick Durbin bringing up six-year-old hanging chads? I can only imagine Republicans would love it. The goofiest part of Dionne's argument comes when he huffs and puffs that Dems mustn't be misled by GOP efforts to "create a nice-guy stampede to Roberts among moderate Democrats and Republicans." (Oh. So the "Gang of 14" are really just sheep?) Dionne insists Dems must make every effort to find out "where Roberts stands," which of course is a fallacy no matter how many times Roberts' opponents bring it up. It is the job of a justice to approach each case with an open mind, full apprised of the law and facts. Only then can a justice possibly know which if any prior judicial precedents should be applied to the case before him. Roberts will not be obliged to answer what Orrin Hatch once called Chuck Schumer's "dumbass" questions about how Roberts (then an appellate court nominee) would have decided specific cases. Dionne actually knows all this. He also already knows Roberts is a judicial conservative, and that there's fun hay to be made by adding to the growing mythos that Roberts is a "stealth" nominee:
There will be no excuse for discovering too late that Roberts is every bit as conservative as his supporters think he is.
Earth calling E.J.: Almost certainly you're going to learn nothing in the hearings that will confirm or deny your worst fears about specific policy issues. Roberts will refuse to go there for the same reasons (good, solid, judicially sound ones) that Ginzberg refused to in her own confirmation. But if you manage to pay attention during the hearings, you might just come away with the impression that John Roberts is committed to faithfully applying the Constitution in the service of the Framers' promise of equal justice under the law. That impression would be accurate.