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Bench Memos

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Re: Senatorial Privilege vs. Quality Judges



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Here’s an article from the Providence Journal (registration required) that amply illustrates the thesis of my Weekly Standard essay that senators have seized an extraordinary role in the judicial-selection process. This article states that Robert G. Flanders “was nominated yesterday by Sen. Lincoln Chafee to a seat on the 1st Circuit.” The article helpfully explains: “Technically, Chafee sends the nomination of Flanders to President Bush, who has the FBI complete a background check and refers the nomination to the Senate for confirmation.”

Ah, yes, that’s what the Constitution “technically” provides for: Nomination by a home-state senator, referral to the President for a background check, and confirmation by the full Senate!

Of course, the idea that Sen. Chafee — the lone Republican to vote against Alito’s confirmation — has even an informal role in judge-picking ought to be alarming.



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