Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Senatorial Privilege vs. Quality Judges


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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