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July 20, 2005

And Now, Bed.

A few thoughts on Roberts before bed. Liberals need to be careful how they play this one. I've heard a fair number of folks demanding that Democrats force the nuclear option, and that any who don't should be disowned by the party's base. At this point, that's idiotic.

As we begin this battle, a few facts should be kept in mind. First and foremost, President Bush will nominate and the Senate will confirm a conservative judge. As McCain says, elections have consequences, and this is one of them. If we somehow shut down the Senate and force Bush to pick a different candidate, the replacement will also be conservative. There is no possible outcome where Roberts is replaced by a liberal, or even a moderate. Without a majority, we're just not going to get an agreeable judge.

So the question, on Roberts, is how to lose. One way or the other, we will lose, all that matters is how we look while we flame out. And the first rule there is that we shouldn't look like a bunch of rabid ideologues begging for a battle. We should want to confirm this judge. We should. We should hope Bush has nominated someone easily confirmable, who will spend the next few decades blessing the Court with enlightened jurisprudence. If and when facts come out that say otherwise, we should reluctantly, sadly admit them into the analysis. And when the vote finally comes due, after his opinions are well known and our thoughts on those opinions are widely broadcast, we should vote no and lose well.

The filibuster and the nuclear option are a last resort. They're unpredictable. We should remember that. Even assuming we could win the first one, could we win the second? The third? At what point does the public decide principle has become obstruction?

So the battle, as it begins, should be about one thing: making this guy answer questions. His comments on Roe, which spoke for the first Bush Administration, should be used as evidence that he must answer our questions. Otherwise, we have to assume those are his opinions. His odd cases, his tough decisions, his offensive quotes: these must all be broadcast, but only as part of a single, crystal-clear demand that Roberts sit in the Senate and offer simple, declarative answers to questions. Once that's done, we can decide how he looks and what to do. But if we don't show a genuine desire to get there first, public opinion will never allow us to get anywhere else.

July 20, 2005 in The Supreme Court | Permalink

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» So it wasn't Diana Ross after all from Waveflux
Nor was it a dame named Edith. So much for all that early water-cooler speculation. And now we wait to hear what John Roberts Jr. is all about. The Dems are swinging early, while some anti-choice partisans are telling anyone... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 9:20:24 AM

» What to Make of the Roberts Nomination from sustainablog
I spent some time last night and this morning digging on Dubya's Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 10:44:25 AM

» I was hoping for JULIA Roberts from Now That's Progress
Roberts' views on Roe v. Wade include a statement advocating its abolishment. While his defenders say he was simply arguing a case for his client and this doesn't necessarily reflect what he'd do as a justice, remember this: he didn't have to take a ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 11:03:45 AM

» I Was Hoping for JULIA Roberts from Now That's Progress
While his defenders say he was simply arguing a case for his client and this doesn't necessarily reflect what he'd do as a justice, remember this: he didn't have to take a case in which he would argue for overturning Roe v. Wade. It's that simple. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 11:41:07 AM

» Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts from QandO
As Darwin writes over at the Neolibertarian Network Blog, about "all you can say regarding Justice Roberts is that there isn't much to say. Nobody can be sure whether he'll stand [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 11:51:36 AM

» Obligatory Morning After Supreme Court Nominee Pos from Crack The Bell
So, here's my advice to my fellow Democrats. The Chief Justice's law library card is going to expire soon, so you know we're going to have to have this fight again, and then Ol' Smirky really is going to nominate Bill O'Reilly or someone, so let's j... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 12:08:28 PM

» Obligatory Morning After Supreme Court Nominee Pos from Crack The Bell
So, here's my advice to my fellow Democrats. The Chief Justice's law library card is going to expire soon, so you know we're going to have to have this fight again [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 12:11:38 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish... The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 1:50:36 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish... The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 1:55:22 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish... The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 1:57:27 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish....The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That'... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 2:08:36 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish....The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That'... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 2:10:25 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish....The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That'... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 5:35:04 PM

» Supreme Court confirmation process: Discipline and punish from Political Animal
Discipline and punish....The Democrats should have one priority going into the Supreme Court nominations process: party discipline. The Republicans are trying to convince the public that the president has the right to have his nominees confirmed. That'... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 20, 2005 10:06:49 PM

» So it wasn't Diana Ross after all from Waveflux
Nor was it a dame named Edith. So much for all that early water-cooler speculation. And now we wait to hear what John Roberts Jr. is all about. The Dems are swinging early, while some anti-choice partisans are telling anyone... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 21, 2005 2:15:32 PM

Comments

I'm VERY close to agreeing fully. But though we must ask appropriate questions about his record and judicial philosophy, we know he will not answer them, nor will any other Bush nominee. Bush really resents the advice and consent part of the Constitution, and all his nominees will not speak more about their record than Bush's prep teams allow, which is almost nothing. Failure to answer questions will not be accepted by the public as a reason for a filibuster.

I would be pleased if every Dem voted no on Roberts (party line solidarity), or even those that don't like him voted no, I'm afraid that all but a few Dems will finally vote yes (just to avoid questions at election-time) when it is clear he will be confirmed.

Voting yes on this guy makes him as much ours as Bush's, so any later criticism we might want to make about his record and the dangers of approving a stealth candidate will be thrown back in the Dems face for having consented to him on a bi-partisan basis.

I'm all for graceful losing, but I'm not in favor of just folding our hand and voting yes to a guy that may turn out to be just awful - like Thomas or Scalia.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 20, 2005 3:44:57 AM

Amen. Good post, I hope our leadership plays this well.

Posted by: dige | Jul 20, 2005 4:34:39 AM

We should hope Bush has nominated someone easily confirmable, who will spend the next few decades blessing the Court with enlightened jurisprudence.

And a pony. While we're at it, we should hope for a pony, too.

Posted by: Thad | Jul 20, 2005 4:59:58 AM

Although the comparison is not accurate, let's just say he is as far right as Ginsberg is left. Why should he not be afforded the same respect Ginsberg recieved as far as asking about how they would rule or their personal opinion on issues? She refused to answer and that decision was respected.

If Schumer tries to scold Roberts for not answering questions the way he did when Roberts was confirmed in 2003, I think Schumer will be put in his place, and that will not be graceful losing. Schumer is not liked outside NY.

'Get Stoned!'

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 20, 2005 7:40:00 AM

"We should hope Bush has nominated someone easily confirmable, who will spend the next few decades blessing the Court with enlightened jurisprudence."

Cool! An enlightened roll-back of the Enlightenment. Can't wait to watch that one.

This guy is a darling of the Federalist Society and a stealth wingnut. They've been planning something like this, all along.

Get ready to relive the '50s -- the 1850s.

Posted by: urizon | Jul 20, 2005 8:17:31 AM

read this now

Posted by: almostinfamous | Jul 20, 2005 9:15:29 AM

Toke, I think you're egregiously wrong here. (Imagine your surprise.) My response to you, and my general thoughts on Roberts, are all here in this handy-dandy post.

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz | Jul 20, 2005 10:39:59 AM

Well-said, Ezra. There's a reason why none of the candidates bandied about on Tradesports made it. The Bushies picked a nice guy with very little record (only 2 years as judge!) because they want to make the Dems look bad if they filibuster.

Instead,

Posted by: battlepanda | Jul 20, 2005 1:04:23 PM

When the Dems can't win a majority in the House of Representatives, can't get a majority in the Senate, and can't win the Presidency, they're shit out of luck.

Posted by: VRWC | Jul 20, 2005 3:43:34 PM

You are wise beyond your years, Ezra.

Of course, you are exactly correct. This choice was brilliant, and perhaps the smartest thing the Bushies have done.

It saddens me, but it is what it is.

The GOP wants nothing more than for us to behave like rabbid dogs so they can regain support by making us look bad.

Posted by: Don | Jul 20, 2005 6:45:44 PM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 17, 2007 2:47:52 AM

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