Feingold: "I will vote in favor of the nomination of Judge John Roberts"
Yeah, sorry for disappearing for a couple weeks... I had meant to blog several times following the hearings, but life intervened.
The big news, of course, is that Senator Feingold voted to recommend
Judge John Roberts for the position of Chief Justice. Read the whole statement, it's always well-written and interesting. But here's the general summary of it:
Mr. Chairman, I will vote in favor of the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the United States. This has not been an easy decision, but I believe it is the correct one. Judge Roberts's impeccable legal credentials, his reputation and record as a fair-minded person, and his commitment to modesty and respect for precedent have persuaded me that he will not bring an ideological agenda to the position of Chief Justice of the United States and that he should be confirmed.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, the speculation began on what this does to a Feingold presidential candidacy. Here, take a look at the MyDD story
on it-- ranging from "This'll come back to hurt him" to "He needed to do this to appeal to centrists."
Here's the real reason (I think): he's Russ Feingold, and he votes his conscience.
I'm still opposed to Roberts. I think that, as conservative as he likely is, he'll hurt this country in the long run. But Senator Feingold has always been consistent in supporting presidential appointees because, somehow, President Bush won the election, and that means he gets to pick his SCOTUS appointments. The only exception to this policy is when the nominee is quite clearly not qualified, and, in this case, there wasn't enough evidence of that.
I might wish right now, fearful of "Chief Justice Roberts" and the Court he'll run, that Feingold hadn't stuck to his principles. But this is what we all love about him, isn't it?
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!
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.
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.
"Forward With Feingold"
I'd like to send everyone who happens to read this over to Dan K's Russ Feingold for President
blog, because today he wrote something really great. I mean it. This is the sort of thing that could convert people to the Feingold cause, or at least get them interested.
The post is titled "Forward With Feingold"
and it outlines one of Dan's reasons for supporting Senator Feingold: Wisconsin's state motto. Through the course of it, it also shows how Feingold isn't another Eugene McCarthy or another George McGovern or another Howard Dean. Instead, he's Russ Feingold, and that alone is enough of a reason to support him.
Today being September 11, four years after the attacks that we all remember so well, something about the post really seemed to work for me. It's hopeful, it offers a vision for the future. It makes you think that with Russ Feingold, maybe we can make the post-September 11th world a better place, instead of using that date as an excuse for everything that's wrong.
So. Something about what Dan wrote was really good. I'm hoping that he cross-posts it on MyDD
, or even on the RussForPresident
Sorry it took a few days for me to post this...
But the winning RussForPresident.com
Blogad design was... Jerry Troiano's "Pop Quiz" ad. I think you'll all agree that he did a fantastic job on it, and, as RussForPresident requested, it can be seen on the right side of this page. Hopefully other pro-Feingold sites will add it to their homepages as well, because it really is an excellent ad.
It can now be seen on My Left Wing
and The Smirking Chimp
, and, if they can raise some more money, it'll be on a few other sites as well.
This is pretty exciting stuff! When President Feingold takes office in January of 2009, you'll be able to say, "I remember when it all began!"
Katrina, Rehnquist, and General Update
Sorry for the absence of activity. I've been busy, and with Katrina, my heart just hasn't been in spending my free time blogging.
I really can't come up with anything to say on anything right now... so I'll give you Senator Feingold's statements on the aftermath of the hurricane and on Chief Justice Rehnquist's passing.On Katrina
(frontpage of his Senate site):
Like all Americans, my thoughts are with those struggling to cope with the terrible effects of Hurricane Katrina. The devastation brought by the storm is absolutely heart-wrenching and beyond description. I continue to be concerned by reports of a slow emergency response. Clearly, more needs to be done to get help to Katrina’s victims. I hope that the emergency spending bill that the Senate approved last night will help speed up disaster relief efforts. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to make sure that the federal government does all it can to assist those who have lost so much in this national tragedy.On Rehnquist
I have great respect for this son of Wisconsin 's long and distinguished tenure on the bench and for the dignity he brought to the Court and to his other duties. Chief Justice Rehnquist served with integrity and our country is grateful for his service. My thoughts are with his family.
Also, a RussForPresident.com
blogad was chosen and will begin circulating the progressive blogospher starting tomorrow. I'll hopefully have more on that tomorrow.
Lastly, just as a warning, I might have to take a several-month break from this, depending on whether or not something I'm working on works out. I'll let you all know details when I know details. Might work out, might not. We shall see.
That's all for tonight. Except for this
. Consider donating, if you can.