Bench Memos

Schumer Loses to Roberts

In today’s column, Novak notes the significance of Roberts’s skillful evasion of pointed questions from Democratic senators–despite even Senator Schumer’s best efforts.

Ever since President Bush’s election, Schumer has been planning how to force nominees to take broad policy positions. . . . Schumer grumbled that Roberts was getting away with incorrectly claiming he was following precedent set by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her confirmation hearing (though in private conversation last week, Ginsburg disagreed with Schumer).

This is potentially significant. Several Democratic senators have been quite vocal that Roberts did not answer their questions as directly as they would like. Given that Roberts is certain to be confirmed, this will make it more difficult for them to oppose future nominees solely on the grounds that they do not answer enough questions from the committee. Novak predicts a 10-8 committee vote nonetheless. I’m not so sure, but we’ll see.

Jonathan H. Adler — 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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