Bench Memos

The Fire Next Time

Though the Left will scuff and kick all the way to the Senate vote, they know that John Roberts is going to be confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court sometime before the first Monday in October. Most liberals are cautiously optimistic that Roberts will be much more like O’Connor than Scalia. For them, it is an encouraging thought. They are glad, too, that President Bush did not really put it to them this time — as they would have felt if the nominee were Edith Jones or Mike Luttig.

Liberals are playing for next time, for the battle over Rehnquist’s successor, for Stevens’s, and on down the line. That is mainly why they are laboring so to define “mainstream” conservatism (read: acceptable to liberals), establish proper questioning etiquette, stake their claim to full disclosure of a nominee’s papers, etc. (There are other reasons, of course, having to do with jockeying for political position and fundraising.)

All this is pretty clear. What’s not so clear is whether conservatives are being as savvy. Yes, conservatives have to parry every thrust against Roberts. Yes, they must keep beating the drums of grassroots support for him. But the outcome is not in doubt. John Roberts is indeed going to be on the bench come October 3rd. Conservatives should also be playing mainly for next time. Even for the time when there is a Democratic president.

Most Popular

Elections

Democrats Are Dumping Moderates

The activist base of the Democratic party is lurching left fast enough that everyone should pay attention. Activists matter because their turnout in low-turnout primaries and caucuses almost propelled leftist Bernie Sanders to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated New ... Read More
Culture

Questions for Al Franken

1)Al, as you were posting on social media a list of proposed questions for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, did it occur to you that your opinion on the matter is no more relevant than Harvey Weinstein’s? 2) Al, is it appropriate for a disgraced former U.S. senator to use the Twitter cognomen “U.S. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Strzok by a Farce

An investigation is one of two things: a search for the truth, or a farce. The House is conducting a farce. That fact was on full display during ten hours of testimony by Peter Strzok, the logorrheic lawman who steered the FBI’s Clinton-emails and Trump–Russia probes. The principal question before the ... Read More
Film & TV

Stalin at the Movies

Toward the end of The Death of Stalin, two Communist Party bosses size up Joseph Stalin’s immediate successor, Georgy Malenkov. “Can we trust him?” one asks. “Can you ever really trust a weak man?” his comrade answers. Good question. Last week brought the news that the head of Shambhala ... Read More