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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Harry Reid



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As Kathryn anticipated, Harry Reid has announced his intention to vote against Judge Roberts’s confirmation. Reid is the nominal leader of the Senate Democrats and generally more moderate than all but a handful of them, but it’s an open secret in the Senate that he has no real influence. The fact that he has been forced by the Left to oppose Roberts makes it reasonable to expect that 35 to 40 Democrats will vote against Roberts.

Reid did make clear that he would oppose a filibuster. That’s too bad, as a filibuster would provide a good opportunity to eliminate the obstructionist tactics of a party that has proven itself unfit for governance.

By the way, I’m grateful to Reid for making me a prophet. In late July, nine days after Roberts was nominated, I offered this set of predictions:

1. By a large margin, the American public will recognize that Roberts deserves confirmation.

2. Left-wing groups will nonetheless push Senate Democrats to vote against Roberts, so he will probably receive no more than 60-70 votes in favor of his confirmation.

3. The American public will therefore increasingly understand that Senate Democrats are not reasonable and will discount their screeching about the next nominee.

4. The next nominee, no matter how conservative, will not be perceived as markedly more conservative (or less deserving of confirmation) than the John Roberts that Americans come to know from the documents that are made available.



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