Bench Memos

Ginsburg Is Right to Be Concerned

I have a slightly different take on Justice Ginsburg’s speech (reported here ). The Congressional “watchdog” proposal is a response to the ridiculous attacks on so-called “junkets for judges.” Various left-leaning interest groups have been attacking federal judges for attending educational programs sponsored by George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center and the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment because (gasp) the judges might learn something about economics and (gasp) their travel expenses are paid for. I addressed these charges a while back on NRO in this column . I agree Justice Ginsburg’s language was overwrought, but is it not a bit of a “Soviet” mentality that worries whether judges are spending time with people who might promote the “wrong” ideas?

I also think that Justice Ginsburg’s comments on the increasing partisanship of judicial nominations is welcome. She’s said nothing, to my knowledge, to suggest that she thinks President Bush has made bad picks to the Court. To the contrary, we have rason to believe she is quite happy with her new colleagues. So, I see her comments as implicitly critical of those (Democratic) Senators who do not believe a President is entitled to substantial deference in his choice of judicial nominees.

Jonathan H. Adler is the Johan Verhiej Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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