Register with

Subscribe to the
Michigan for Feingold Group

Powered by

12 September 2005

Roberts Confirmation Hearings

Today's the day you've all been waiting for, boys and girls!

That's right... hearings begin on confirming John Roberts as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court!

Excitement, excitement.

In my personal opinion, not only is Roberts far too conservative for the position, but also unqualified, with very little experience. But I don't get a vote on this, which may be good, because I wouldn't trust me with making major decisions either. Thankfully, there's a guy from Wisconsin you might all know who's on the Judiciary Committee. Here's what he had to say:

... I wish you well, and I admire your record and your impressive career. This is a confirmation proceeding, however, not a coronation. It is the Senate Judiciary Committee's job to ask tough questions. We are tasked by the Senate with getting a complete picture of your qualifications, your temperament, and how you will carry out your duties. Obviously, nominees to the Supreme Court must be subject to the highest level of scrutiny. As the nominee to be Chief Justice of the United States, you will be subject to the ultimate level of scrutiny.
... If by "dignified" they mean that tough and probing questions are out of bounds, I must strongly disagree. It is not undignified to ask questions that press the nominee for his views on the important areas of the law that the Supreme Court confronts. It is not undignified to review and explore the nominee's writings, his past statements, the briefs he has filed, the memos he has written. It is not undignified to ask the nominee questions he would rather not answer should he prefer to remain inscrutable, or, worse yet, all things to all people.

This process is not a game. It is not a political contest. It is one of the most important things that the Senate does -- confirm or reject nominees to the highest court in the land. And we as Senators must take that responsibility very seriously.


Chief Justice Rehnquist himself acknowledged the importance of the Senate's role when he wrote the following in his last annual report on the federal judiciary: "Our Constitution has struck a balance between judicial independence and accountability, giving individual judges secure tenure but making the federal judiciary subject ultimately to the popular will because judges are appointed and confirmed by elected officials."

That suggests to me that it is not only permissible, but critical, that the Senate seek to learn as much as it can about the views of nominees and that nominees be as forthcoming as they possibly can without compromising their independence.

and finally
In my view, we must evaluate not only his qualifications, but also his ability to keep an open mind, his sensitivity to the concerns of all Americans and their right to equal protection under the laws; not only his intellectual capacity, but his judgment and wisdom; not only his achievements, but his fairness, and his courage to stand up to the other branches of government when they infringe on the rights and liberties of our citizens.
(emphasis mine)

There was a bit more than what I included there, and it's worth reading the whole thing all the way through. But those were some important bits I thought I'd share with you.

Looking forward to more over the coming days. Head over to C-SPAN if you want to watch the action as it happens.


Post a Comment

<< Home