The Spectacle Blog

The SCOTUS Nomination Standard

By on 5.18.10 | 12:37PM

From the Corner at National Review:

Make the case against liberal jurisprudence and vote against Kagan while knowing it won't stop her confirmation. In my view, that's what Republicans should do.

Ramesh Ponnuru has the right approach, generally, with one caveat -- it might actually stop her confirmation.

We can't give in and say that Kagan is a fait accompli or that Obama's a liberal, he'll appoint a liberal justice, we can't stop it...

We should ask whether they're suited for the court and whether they're suited for the process.

Harriet Miers, who, in my opinion, was not suited for the Court or the process, could have been confirmed. She wasn't. Her nomination imploded from the inside out. I'm glad for that. She's probably a decent person and a bright legal mind. But for the SCOTUS it takes more than that.  Besides, we got Samuel Alito as a result of her withdrawal. Not a bad consolation by any measure.

The Miers scenario illustrates exactly what can happen to subpar nominees. They're not inanimate objects. While it might be difficult to objectively prove them unequal to the task, we might find that they realize the same themselves -- and withdraw.

"Advise and consent" could just as easily have been "an up or down vote by the Senate" but it's not; it's advise and consent. And the role of Justices, especially as viewed by the left, is far too significant in 2010 to be anything resembling an automatic bid.

Moreover, liberal pundits and politicians alike think the Supreme Court is already too conservative. They think they're owed one more flip just to balance the court. They won't be willing to treat a Kennedy, Scalia, or a Thomas resignation, for instance, as an automatic bid for another moderate to Conservative nomination. So, it's way too important not to throw everything legal and decent at these nominees. If they can't take the process, they don't belong.

And no, I'm not talking about the impertinence of questions like "are you a racist?" as was asked of Alito, because we're not donkeys. We'll leave that to the Democrats. But we should make them have to defend their existence on the Bench.

And in the process, we just never know what might happen.

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