Politics & Policy

The Inquisitor

Charles Schumer, leader of the anti-Bush crusade

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the August 8, 2005, issue of National Review.

Minutes before the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings on the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the federal bench in 2002, Democratic senator Chuck Schumer of New York was introduced to Estrada’s mother. She informed the senator that when she was living in New York four years earlier, she had voted for him over the incumbent Republican, Alfonse D’Amato. “I hope you’ll repay the favor,” she added.

Schumer chuckled at her request. He took his seat, gaveled the hearing to order, and delighted in proclaiming her support. Then he proceeded to do everything in his power to avoid repaying the favor: He demanded sensitive documents, gave voice to accusations that Estrada was a right-wing nutjob, and speculated about the nominee’s honesty: “I think we have some credibility problems here.” At one awkward moment during his persistent badgering of Estrada, the senator snapped: “This takes a yes or no answer if you’re being truthful with this committee.”

This colorful performance was vintage Schumer — hungry for whatever scraps of publicity Estrada’s mother might confer upon him, but also committed to the crafty partisanship that has made him one of the Senate’s most belligerent Democrats. “There’s a lot we do not know about Miguel Estrada,” Schumer said at the hearing — even though Schumer himself apparently knew enough to condemn the man, just a few days earlier in The Nation, as “a Stealth missile — with a nose cone — coming out of the right wing’s deepest silo.”

Chuck Schumer is New York’s other liberal senator. Whereas Hillary Rodham Clinton may be more important to her party’s long-term ambitions, Schumer is undoubtedly more significant to its near-term goals: He is perhaps the key Democrat sitting on the Senate panel that soon will weigh in on the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to fill the first Supreme Court vacancy in more than a decade. In this regard, he is more important than chairman Patrick Leahy, more critical than attack-dog Ted Kennedy. “He’s the smartest guy they’ve got,” says Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation. . .

YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE IN THE CURRENT ISSUE OF THE DIGITAL VERSION OF NATIONAL REVIEW. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION TO NR DIGITAL OR NATIONAL REVIEW, YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR A SUBSCRIPTION TO NATIONAL REVIEW here OR NATIONAL REVIEW DIGITAL here (a subscription to NR includes Digital access).

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

Most Popular

Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More
Economy & Business

Daylight Savings Forever

Before I became a parent, I didn't have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides -- increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. -- and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn't feel personally offended by ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More