Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 6, 2006
LAW: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
To summarize, Chuck Schumer's position is as follows:
1. Answering questions is "particularly important," and "much more vital," for someone like Roberts, who has not "spent years forging a legacy on an appeals court, which can provide an excellent guide to [a nominee's] judicial philosophy," who has "served only two years on the bench," and as to whom there are not "many documents which would reveal [the nomineeâ€™s] thinking," and who is therefore "more of a tabula rasa than many other nominees in terms of . . . judicial philosophy."
2. At the same time, "there is a greater obligation to answer questions," "the obligation increases," and there is "more to answer for," for someone like Alito, who, unlike Roberts, has spent 15 years forging a legacy on an appeals court (which, you will recall, can provide an excellent guide to a nomineeâ€™s judicial philosophy), and who has a "written record on executive power; [a] written record on Congressional power; [a] his written record on the issue of personal autonomy and choice," and who "has spoken out - in a clear and direct way - on . . . particular issue[s]," and expressed views "strongly," and who is therefore not more of a tabula rasa than many other nominees in terms of judicial philosophy.
3. On the other hand, it was "less critical" for someone like Justice Ginsburg "to answer every question,â€ because she, unlike Roberts (but like Alito), had spent "13 years on the appeals court and had written 305 opinions," and thereby had a "long record" of spending years forging a legacy on an appeals court (an excellent guide, of course, to a nomineeâ€™s judicial philosophy), had "penned" many "substantive" writings, and thus had an extensive written record, had spoken out in a clear and direct way on issues, had expressed views strongly, and therefore was not more of a tabula rasa than many other nominees in terms of judicial philosophy.
Or, to put it differently: Roberts and Alito are Republican nominees, Ginsburg was a Democrat, and the rest is window dressing.