In 1993, a nominee came before the Senate seeking confirmation to the nation’s highest court. She was a liberal in every sense of the word. She served as ACLU General Counsel for 7 years
and was a strong proponent of abortion rights. She was confirmed by a 96-3 vote in just 4 days.
Senator Biden also commented
on the extent to which Supreme Court nominees should answer questions about their potential future rulings. Senator Biden said “the public is best served by questions that initiate a dialog with the nominee, not about how she will decide any specific case that may come before her
, but about the spirit and the method she will bring to the task of judging.
But now that we’re dealing with a Republican’s nomination, it’s a different story. John Roberts refused to answer certain questions and based the refusal, in part, on a precedent of “no hints, no forecasts, no previews” that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg set at her hearings a dozen years ago. “That is not true, judge,” interrupted Senator Biden, telling Roberts that Ginsburg had been far more forthcoming, particularly about abortion. Specter broke in at that point ï¿½ one of several times he did so during the day ï¿½ telling Biden to let Roberts finish his answer. Biden said Roberts wasn’t answering at all, then said to the witness seated a few feet away: “Go ahead and continue not to answer
Remember as Democrats grill Roberts on issues like abortion, voting rights act, limits on presidential power and other contentious issues… this
Ginsburgï¿½s hearing lasted a total of 4 days.
Only one panel of witnesses was permitted to testify against Ginsburg at the hearing.
Ginsburg was not required to discuss her legal views on a host of issues, including:
Ginsburg was also not required to discuss her personal views on issues such as the death penalty. The fact that Ginsburg had made controversial ideological statements in speeches and law review articles was not considered a disqualifier. For example, before her nomination to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had argued there may be a constitutional right to prostitution, the age of sexual consent should be lowered to 12, and for an to end single-sex prisons to prepare male prisoners to return to a community in which men and women function as equal partners.
Even Senators who strongly disagreed with Justice Ginsburgï¿½s personal political views voted for her confirmation. Even those Senators who eventually voted against Justice Ginsburgï¿½s confirmation treated her, and spoke of her, with respect. But in 2005…
“If your position prevailed, it would have been legal in many cases to discriminate in athletics for girls, women. It would have been legal to discriminate in the hiring of teachers,” Kennedy said.
“You have not accurately represented my opinion,” Roberts replied.
“Those are your words,” Kennedy retorted, but Roberts was unrelenting.
“Senator, you did not accurately represent my opinion,” he said.
Apparently it’s too much to ask Democrats to treat a Republican nominee as they expected a liberal nominee to be treated.
But really, who’s surprised?