London's 'The Guardian': A Chief Justice Confirmed

Here are some excerpts from a news story in London's The Guardian newspaper:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 -- The Senate has confirmed [the] President['s] arch-conservative nominee as ... Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, after the most fiercely disputed confirmation hearings this century.

Critics, who included Senator Edward Kennedy ... were unrepentant and said he would prove 'too extreme' for the country's good.

During the three-month debate, on his appointment, old memos surfaced about his attitudes towards civil rights, women's rights and the rights of Americans as a whole in relation to the state.

Personal ethics as well as candour became an issue. Suggestions were made that he failed to debar himself from sitting on at least one ... case involving ... suspected subversives .... The distinction between the judiciary and the executive and their respective powers goes to the heart of the American constitutional settlement the court is empowered to uphold.

But wait -- isn't the vote scheduled for Sept. 22?

Yes, it is.

To clarify: This story appeared in the Guardian of Sept. 19, 1986, and the Chief in question was one William Rehnquist, who had just been elevated from associate justice by a 65-33 vote.

But the parallels are uncanny, no?

After Rehnquist was confirmed, Reagan issued this statement: "It is clear to all now that the extraordinary controversy surrounding the hearings had little to do with Justice Rehnquist's record or character -- both are unassailable and unimpeachable. The attack came from those whose ideology runs contrary to his profound and unshakable belief in the proper constitutional role of the judiciary in this country."

Voting for Roberts's confirmation could help the Democrats avoid getting smacked with a similar statement from Bush. It will be fascinating to see what they do when the full Senate votes. Will history repeat itself?

By Emily Messner |  September 19, 2005; 5:52 AM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
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I am slightly disappointed, from a sheer entertainment standpoint, regarding how toothless Sen. Kennedy has been this time around.

He better have some good piss and vinegar stored up for the next pick.

Posted by: Bob P. | September 19, 2005 11:27 AM

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