Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted this week that it was not the fault of the Democrats in confirming John Roberts and not using their power to block the nomination. Rather, they were tricked by Roberts who lied to them in suggesting that he was a moderate and that we are now “stuck” with him as chief justice.
Reid’s comments are the latest revisionist history from the Congress — much like blaming AIG executives for an amendment that the Democrats inserted into the stimulus legislation protecting bonuses.
Reid and his colleagues refused to listen to many critics stating that Roberts was a hard-right nominee. Indeed, they did not even call such critics to the hearing to avoid the issue entirely. They preferred to pretend that Roberts was a moderate to quell demands that they block the nomination.
At the time, I wrote columns detailing how Roberts was likely to vote on the far right of the court, and here. I was blasted by supporters who insisted that this was mere speculation and that such predictive votes on specific issues were illusory. Later, the predictions proved accurate, here and here.
I still believe that Roberts is remarkably well qualified for the Court. However, I objected to the ludicrous confirmation hearings held by the Senate where they allowed Roberts to refuse to answer virtually any substantive question. To have the Senate democrats now claim to be hoodwinked if quite exasperating. They participated in one of the least substantive confirmation hearings in history and steadfastly refused to press Roberts on areas of importance.
What is remarkable is that, after not blocking Roberts or Alito, the Democrats appear again to be campaigning on the need to keep them in power to protect the Court. Reid stated “Roberts didn’t tell us the truth. At least Alito told us who he was. But we’re stuck with those two young men, and we’ll try to change by having some moderates in the federal courts system as time goes on — I think that will happen.”
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