The new judicial mainstream

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Since the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Robert Bork in 1987, Democrats have charged that Republican nominees are "out of the mainstream." Last summer I wrote a U.S. News column predicting that then Judge John Roberts would help create a new judicial mainstream. Now University of Chicago Law Prof. Cass Sunstein, a thoughtful and intellectually honest liberal, concludes from the hearings on Roberts and Judge Samuel Alito that Republican nominees have established a new standard of what is acceptable. Sunstein's point is a little different from mine. But I think we both see the law as set down by the Supreme Court as likely to head in a similar direction—and it's not the direction that liberal law professors or liberal justices like Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would like.