The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 July 2005

And speaking of Mister Roberts

Lindsay Beyerstein writes:

Republicans are trying to encourage the misconception that a nominee's views are irrelevant. As convenient as that assumption is for the side that picks the nominees, it's still wrong. The standard line is that what matters is the soundness of the nominee's legal reasoning, not his substantive conclusions. The logical rejoinder is that nominations are political decisions within a system of checks and balances.

"Egregious" is in the mind of the beholder, of course, but I don't think the GOP is officially claiming that a nominee's views are irrelevant. They might, of course, actually believe so, but they'd be wrong.

Besides, the Republican definition of "sound" legal reasoning differs from the definition you'd get from the Democrats, so you can't keep politics out of the matter even if you wanted to.

Like most jobs, [the] number of minimally qualified applicants for the Supreme Court vastly exceed the number of vacancies. Obviously, it would be wrong to nominate or confirm a candidate for political reasons if they were unqualified, but let's assume we're not dealing with anyone in that category. There's no other position where minimal qualification guarantees you the job. Other considerations always come into play in the final selection process.

Senators are entitled to ask the same questions that the President asks in choosing the nominee in the first place: Where does he stand on the issues I care about? Would his legacy be positive or negative?

Indeed, they would be remiss if they didn't ask those questions. I just hope (perhaps vainly) that they don't go off the deep end in search of isolated phrases that can be turned into sound bites.

Posted at 8:41 AM to Political Science Fiction