The collapse of the opposition to Judge Roberts is almost visible in today’s questions from Democrats. Judge Roberts is so well prepared and so extraordinarily reasonable and informed, that Democrats are coming off looking silly at best (and churlish at worst, as with Senator Kennedy’s repeated interruptions of the nominee.)
In fact, the tactics used by the Democrats suggest they aren’t even fighting very hard. Assume –correctly– that nothing any Democratic senator can say will in any way change the dynamic that is moving towards a huge yes vote on the nomination. The only thing that can change that dynamic is (1)an explosive revelation which is nowhere in sight nor likely to appear or (2) something that Judge Roberts himself says.
Given that the only hope the left has of defeating this man who will be Chief Justice –God willing– for 30+ years is something that he himself says, the Democrats’ long winded and almost endless set-ups to their questions are in fact great favors to Roberts, allowing the judge to in effect run out the clock while not appearing to do so. The Democrats should be asking short, simple, and open-ended questions –hundreds of them– but they cannot bear to forfeit the television time so they chew up their only hope –the time that Judge Roberts spends talking– and their opposition is thus perfunctory.
They aren’t even trying very hard. If it was a fight, you’d suspect the fix was in.
The additional great benefit of the proceedings as they unfold is that the next nominee will in effect get to read the roll of Roberts’ putt in preparation for his or her own hearing. Once the Roberts’ answers are given and absorbed into the Senate’s records and he is confirmed, a new nominee delivering substantially the same answers to what will no doubt be substantially similar questions will also be as confirmable as Judge Roberts, especially if that nominee is other than a white male. For if the next nominee gives the same answers to the same questions, but a senator who voted for Judge Roberts’ confirmation then votes against a Judge Jones, a Judge Owens or a Judge Garza, the question will arise as to why, and the presumption will have to be a non-substantive one.
Still, the superb performance we are watching is the best argument for the appointment not of a judge of a particular background, race or gender, buf for the appointment of a brilliant mind experienced in the very subjects being discussed this week. Nominate a Judge Luttig or a Judge McConnell, and the results will be exactly the same. The American public will not stand for the defeat of a superb jurist at the hands of the small-minded ideolouges that dominate the Senate Democrats.
Professor B. thinks the roll-over by the Dems has to do with future political ambitions, and he may be right. But judging from the various commentators at various lefty blogs, the “activists” are fuming at the preening of the Democratic senators. As I just discussed with Senator John Kyl, running a four corner offense when you are 30 points behind.
Radioblogger will have the transcript of the interview with Senator Kyl up later today.