• Yes, I Can

    Prof. Bainbridge has an interesting thought experiment for you: Can you imagine what it'll be like when a big-time blawgger like Reynolds, Althouse, or any of the Volokh Conspirators get nominated? Why yes, yes I can:
  • Tread Water

    Dahlia Lithwick on today's hearings : John Roberts is putting on a clinic. He completely understands that he needs only to sit very quietly, head cocked to signal listening-ness, while senator after senator offers long discursive rambling speeches. Only when he's perfectly certain that a question has been asked does he offer a reply; usually cogent and spare. Here's a man long accustomed to answering really hard questions from extremely smart people, suddenly faced with the almost-harder task of answering obvious questions from less-smart people. He finds himself standing in a batting cage with the pitching machine set way too slow. [...] in the end, these hearings are perfectly matched. Roberts wants to say little and literally fade to black. The senators want to give speeches and seize the limelight. It's a match made in heaven. It's just the watching it that's hell.
  • Good

    Roberts: "There's no question that there should be equal pay for equal work." After the comparative worth questions raised by his papers, I'm damn glad to hear him affirm that. Update: Jeff Sessions is now berating Roberts for being too forthcoming, begging him to promise he's not yet decided how he'd rule on Roe , is referencing polling data saying that Roe lacks widespread support and should be overturned, and is now citing law articles and periodicals saying Roe is bad precedent . He's trying to convince Roberts to overturn Roe and begging him not to assume that's it's "settled law". It's a very odd exchange and one that looks aimed at reassuring unsettled conservatives. Jeff Sessions, incidentally, strikes me as an idiot. I don't mean ideologically objectionable (though he is that), I mean dumb. Update 2: Huh, Wonkette noticed the same thing vis-a-vis Sessions' IQ. Update 3: Feingold is by far the most effective, articulate, knowledgeable, and concise questioner on the Committee...
  • Help Me Help You!

    Nobody really noticed this yesterday, but The Washington Post had an article about a major lobbyist experiencing a Jerry McGuire-style epiphany after Katrina and embarking on a crusade against his profession: Frederick L. Webber, a longtime denizen of Washington's lobbying corridor, showed up at work one day last week and found on his desk a dozen fundraising requests from members of Congress. He threw them all in the trash. In a self-described epiphany, Webber, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, drafted a large check to help families displaced by Hurricane Katrina and decided that an imperative of his vocation -- political giving -- had finally gone too far. [...] Webber told K Street colleagues that radical change is needed in election laws: Donations should be further limited, campaign seasons should be shortened and lawmakers, somehow, should be freed up to do more legislating and less soliciting. [...] "Members of Congress are trapped. They have to continue to...
  • On Opacity

    I'm hearing a lot of concern that Roberts could be lying through his hearings, saying what Senators want to hear to provoke them into confirming him. I wrote about this awhile back (it's possible), but have slightly revised my opinion. The first point, of course, is yes, he can do exactly that and there's nothing we can do to stop him. In that way, we're back at the old "elections matter" adage. When Republicans get elected, they're going to nominate judges. When we're in the minority, we can't block them all. If they want to lie during confirmation, they can. We're up a creek here. Nevertheless, there are some reasons for optimism. here are a few: • Scalia, Thomas and others faced a Democratic Senate, giving them significantly more reason to lie. Roberts would do more to assure confirmation by appealing to the Republican majority rather than the Democratic minority. His moderation on Roe has got folks concerned over at Free Republic and is certainly doing the same through the...
  • Not To Be Stingy With Credit, But...

    Mark Schmitt writes : The president's popularity dipped into the low 40s, and they passed the energy bill anyway -- what more proof do you need that the president's poll numbers hardly matter, if you control the instutions? At least a bit more. The President won reelection but couldn't pass privatization -- what more proof do you need that control of the institutions hardly matter? I've been seeing the occasional emergence of some strange conservative checklist wherein CAFTA, energy bill and highway bill means he's been an effective second term president, poll numbers and ideological failures be damned! Well, maybe. But I think not. When you control the institutions of government, I think it's basically assumed that you'll be able to ram your way to success in the more basic responsibilities of the presidency. The highway and energy bills fit that -- they're basically infrastructure adjustment acts larded with pork to attract legislator support. They're bad, sure, but not bad in the...
  • Roberts

    So far as Bush nominees go, Roberts' answer on Roe was significantly more encouraging than anything I was expecting. Further, his fairly expansive view of privacy rights within the Constitution is quite comforting. We'll see how the hearings evolve, but as of now, I'm fairly impressed.
  • Good News!

    I've been listening to the John Roberts hearings for the past half hour and I think we can safely say that he would vote to uphold Brown v. Board . Well, it's something, right? (By the way, were I John Roberts, I'd really hate Ted Kennedy.)
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  • When Heartless Becomes Hackneyed

    Apparently, NRO's Cliff May thinks LA's blackout is an acceptable analogue for what those left in New Orleans went through: Does [Bush] even care what the people of Los Angeles are going through? Not everyone in Hollywood can just get into a Range Rover and turn on the air conditioning. Some people only have Mercedes and BMWs and red Corvettes. How long is the rescue effort going to take? Surely, Bush is not waiting on the mayor and the governor again. Big-foot them now! I’ll bet Bush is playing his silly banjo. I'll let you insert your own epithet.