Red White & Blue Hens

College students in Delaware who think right is right, and left is wrong. We study hard, party hard, and play hardball.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

NY times hypocrisy

The liberal Washington Post has endorsed John Roberts's confirmation as chief justice. Even the far-left Star Tribune of Minneapolis has done so. But not the New York Times, which in an editorial yesterday futilely urged the Senate to vote Roberts's nomination down on the ground that he is, as the headline put it, "Too Much of a Mystery":

The unknowns about Mr. Roberts's views remain troubling, especially since he is being nominated not merely to the Supreme Court, but to be chief justice. That position is too important to entrust to an enigma, which is what Mr. Roberts remains. . . .

If the test were legal skill alone, Mr. Roberts would certainly pass. But the Senate and the American people have a right to know whether he would use his abilities to defend core rights and liberties, or to narrow them. . . .

Over days of testimony, he dodged and weaved around many . . . critical legal issues. On abortion, church-state separation, gay rights and the right of illegal immigrants' children to attend public school--all currently recognized by the court--he asks to be accepted on faith. That just isn't good enough. . . .

If he is confirmed, we think there is a chance Mr. Roberts could be a superb chief justice. But it is a risk. We might be reluctant to roll the dice even for a nomination for associate justice, but for a nomination for a chief justice--particularly one who could serve 30 or more years--the stakes are simply too high. Senators should vote against Mr. Roberts not because they know he does not have the qualities to be an excellent chief justice, but because he has not met the very heavy burden of proving that he does.

Avast! Yet the paper sounded rather a different tune in a July 25, 1993, editorial endorsing the confirmation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

While members of the Senate Judiciary Committee droned through Ruth Bader Ginsburg's hearings last week, the nominee could have been forgiven for thinking, Don't scoff, hang on a little longer and you're in. Endure she did, showing not only knowledge, but also the patience and courtesy befitting a justice of the highest court.

No thanks to the committee, the hearings displayed the workings of a focused legal mind. She dwarfed not only her questioners but all the recent nominees to the Supreme Court she will soon join. Fortunately the senators realize this much: She deserves speedy confirmation.

Judge Ginsburg--teacher, women's advocate and for 13 years a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington--outclassed those entrusted to advise and consent on her nomination to replace retired Justice Byron White. Fittingly, most of the senators admitted they were not in her league, although the chairman, Joseph Biden, and other preening members insisted on their own shows, largely in the form of erratic questions. . . .

While the politicians repeatedly pressed for bottom lines on particular issues like the death penalty and gay rights, Ms. Ginsburg asked to be judged as a judge, not as an advocate. Senators who could not be educated yielded anyway--to the reality that Judge Ginsburg enjoys overwhelming Senate support.

Change "Ginsburg" to "Roberts," "she" to "he," "the chairman" to "Delaware's premier windbag," and so on, and this could very easily be an editorial about last week's hearings. So what's the difference? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Ginsburg was nominated by a Democrat and Roberts by a Republican?

True, Ginsburg wasn't up for chief justice, a position whose importance the Times exaggerates, perhaps out of Earl Warren nostalgia. (In a 1986 editorial opposing William Rehnquist, the Times rhapsodized that the chiefdom is "the noblest position in American law.") But does anyone really believe that a nominee for associate justice should "be judged as a judge, not as an advocate," while a would-be chief should be required to reveal his rulings in advance?


  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger spence0422 said…

    btw, this is from's Best of Web feature


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