In today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Senator Arlen Specter has an op-ed that is must reading for anyone who thinks the chairman of the Judiciary Committee still has a non-hypocritical bone in his body. I’ll be away from blogging all day, but three quick comments about this shabby little article by this disgraceful man:
First, Specter decries the “posse” that brought down the Harriet Miers nomination. This is rich–rather like cutting the brake lines on a car, then pretending to be an innocent bystander at the resulting crash. Or doesn’t he remember his “do-over” homework assignment to Ms. Miers?
Second, he reports on a private conversation he had with Judge Alito that raise the chairman’s comfort level about the future of Roe v. Wade as a precedent. Undoubtedly the account Specter gives is spun in a direction that interprets their conversation to the senator’s liking; this is a transparent effort to box Alito into an all but explicit pro-Roe position in the January hearings. This pointedly reminds us how absurd is the prevailing practice that dictates a judicial nominee remain silent publicly while senators get to say whatever they please.
Third, after that little performance, Specter has the temerity to denounce “litmus tests” being imposed on nominees by “advocates” on both sides of issues like abortion. Of course Specter has always had–just as he has today in this very article–his own litmus tests for nominees, and so his tribute to “judicial independence” rings hollow. But then, the senior senator from Pennsylvania is famed for the self-imploding character of his arguments.
Someone tell again, why did President Bush support this man in the Pennsylvania primary? And why did Senate conservatives back him for the Judiciary chairmanship?