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Saturday, September 17, 2005

"A craven abdication of power to the executive branch"

That's what E.J. Dionne calls voting yes on the Roberts nomination, given the non-responsive testimony of this past week.

[A]s many senators as possible should vote no on Roberts -- by way of saying no to this charade. A majority of "no's," very unlikely to be sure, need not mean the end of his nomination. It would constitute a just demand for Roberts (and whoever Bush names next) to answer more questions in a more forthcoming way and for the administration to provide information that the public, and not just the Senate, deserves.

How many senators will have the guts to make that statement?

Agreed, and a point Dionne doesn't quite make here is the difference between the information available to the president and to the Senate. Does anyone imagine that the president didn't ask Roberts some specific issue-oriented questions in private, back when he was considering whom to nominate? Do you think Roberts may have answered those questions in somewhat more specific terms in the privacy of the executive offices? After all, Roberts at that point was not yet the nominee. He needed to give Bush a reason to make the nomination, and I doubt being a non-responsive prick would've gotten him the Supreme Court nod he has obviously wanted for much of his adult life.

If that's all true, then the president knows a lot more about where this nominee stands than the Senate does. That certainly sounds like "a craven abdication of power to the executive branch" to me. The judiciary is a third branch of government over which both of the other two have some power. It is not the president's private fiefdom, even though the GOP wishes it were with the constant tut-tutting over any public questioning of Roberts that is remotely relevant.