Sunday, January 29, 2006

The lessons of the Roberts and Alito nominations

Via How Appealing, Terry Eastland writes this editorial in the Weekly Standard, which says in part:

"In the end, a big lesson from the search for O'Connor's successor--a lesson of both the Roberts and Alito nominations--is that quality matters. Democrats were unable to convince anyone but themselves that the nation must maintain the Court's 'balance' by having someone like O'Connor succeed O'Connor (assuming, that is, such a person could ever be found, her method of judging being entirely unpredictable). In Roberts and then in Alito, the country saw smart, experienced lawyers who could handle anything thrown at them--without losing their cool.

Another lesson is that quality nominees can make a winning case for judicial conservatism. In making clear the fundamental distinction between law and politics that lies at the heart of their judicial philosophy, both Roberts and Alito articulated a theme that Senate Democrats proved unable to counter effectively. And meanwhile, their cries of wolf, subjected to the immediate, withering scrutiny of informed commentators, didn't resonate. Polls taken after the hearings found that public support for Alito had actually increased. . . .

What's unknown, of course, is whether Bush's last years in office will offer
him another opportunity to pick a justice. If so, it's not too early to say that he should select another in the mold of Roberts and Alito."

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