You Sure Made Your Point, Sen. Leahy

Thursday, September 22, 2005

You Sure Made Your Point, Sen. Leahy

Judge John G. Roberts today won the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee in his quest to win confirmation as the next chief justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. In reporting the 13-5 vote in favor of Roberts, the New York Times writes:
The Democrats who backed Judge Roberts were generally more restrained. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking minority member on the panel, said that despite his vote in favor of the nominee he was very disappointed in him for not being more forthcoming and with the White House for not consulting more with the Senate.
I won't bother to tackle the question of how forthcoming Roberts was or how much the White House consulted with senators. But assuming Leahy's complaints are valid, what lesson does his vote teach future nominees and the White House?

The lesson for nominees: don't provide forthcoming answers and you'll get a favorable vote anyway -- hell, you'll even win the vote of senators like Leahy who bitch about you not being sufficiently forthcoming.

For the White House, the lesson is similar: don't bother consulting with the Senate or providing senators with full access to a nominee's governmental or legal work. Despite the whining, enough Dems will roll over in the end.

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