Bench Memos

How The Senate Can Honor The Chief

If fair-minded Democrats really want to honor the late Chief Justice Rehnquist and serve the country’s best interest, as he did selflessly for 33 years, they should call upon liberal extremists to put down their ideological attack weapons and move the confirmation process forward, both for Judge Roberts and for the other nominee the President will name soon. Filling the vacancies on the Court promptly will allow it to address the nation’s judicial business without, as the liberals might say, “undue burden.”

The late Chief Justice took the term “public servant” to heart. When blizzards shut down much of official Washington, the Chief kept the Court open and showed up for work. When he was in severe physical pain — long before this latest illness that took his life — he soldiered on, rising periodically during oral arguments from his center seat on the bench and retreating momentarily behind the heavy curtain at the front of the courtroom because of his chronic back pain.

In memory of such a public servant, the Senate should likewise work hard to do its own job under the Constitution and fulfill the public trust to complete fair and respectful hearings on the President’s nominees as quickly and efficiently as possible. Piles of documents and hurricanes would not have stopped the late great Chief.

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