Bench Memos

Senator Lugar’s Unreality

Republican senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, as part of his broader chastisement of the Tea Party movement to “get real,” defends his votes in favor of the Supreme Court nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on this ground: “I hope people sort of understand that because otherwise we polarize the Supreme Court business to a point that conservative justices offered by a conservative Republican president—who’ll be elected at some point—are going to have trouble.”

Earth to Lugar: For the past 25 years—from Rehnquist’s elevation to Chief Justice in 1986 to the Bork defeat in 1987 to the Thomas battle in 1991 to Roberts and Alito in 2005 and 2006—Senate Democrats have vigorously contested conservative nominees. Republicans tried the path of unilateral surrender in 1993 and 1994, when they overwhelmingly confirmed Justices Ginsburg and Breyer. There is zero reason to believe that supporting Democratic nominees is going to diminish Democratic attacks on Republican nominees.

Oddly, Lugar was one of the nine Republicans to vote against Breyer’s nomination in 1994.

In addition to his votes for Sotomayor and Kagan, I’ll highlight (as I discussed in the last paragraph of this post) that Lugar ran interference for radical transnationalist Harold Koh at Koh’s confirmation hearing in April 2009.

(H/t: The Corner.)


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