Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Manny and Me


I agree with Manny Miranda that Roberts’ confirmation is inevitable “barring some scandal.” (Remember Doug Ginsburg?) I think I agree with Manny that the reason is that Democrats simply do not have the votes–and that there is no reason other than that. I am not sure, though, what exactly Manny has in mind. I will therefore state what I have in mind.

I think that Roberts will draw between 20 and 30 negative votes when finally his nomination is called to the Senate floor. The naysayers will be almost all Democrats; maybe all will be Democrats. Call these Senators the “hard-core antis.” What I mean is this: Given Roberts’ impeccable character, lawyerly competence, clubbable personality, and, yes, his habitual caution, these 20-something senators will be voting against the most confirmable nominee we are likely to see from a Republican president . The lesson will be that they will vote against any high Court nominee a Republican president sends up. (In saying that I make the assumption that pure politics, if not political and moral conviction, weigh heavily against nominees even less obviously opposed to Roe, secularism, and the homosexual insurgency in the courts than Roberts is.) I assume that if President Bush had gone–or if he should go–further downmarket to appease alleged Senate “moderates,” some Republican senators under pressure from their social conservative constituents will jump ship.

(I disagree, by the way, with Manny’s call that Roberts is a “conservative Superman.” The record does not support such a judgment. It rather seems to me that Roberts offered up, in all the thousands and thousands of pages recently released, no more conservative opining that any Republican lawyer working for any Republican president would be expected to exhibit in the course of a decade’s toil.)

Barring scandal, we are going to find out soon just how many senators the extreme Left owns, how many senators the Nan Arons and the Raplh Neas of our time can command when they make it a matter of party discipline. And that is how many senators President Bush should never again care one whit about offending, especially when he chooses his next candidate for the Supreme Court.


Subscribe to National Review