No More "Borking" of Supreme Court Nominees

And enough of calling Sotomayor a racist.


By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I wrote about the Sotomayor nomination in today's U.S.News Weekly edition and thought I'd add to it by sharing with you the two best things I've read this week on the Supreme Court nomination. Here's Peggy Noonan's advice to the GOP in the Wall Street Journal:

Republicans can be liberated by the fact that they're outnumbered and likely about to lose. They can step back, breathe in, and use the Sotomayor confirmation hearings to perform a public service: Find out what the future justice thinks and why she thinks it, explain what they think and why they think it, look at the two different philosophies, if that's what they are. Don't make it sparring, make it thinking.

Don't grill and grandstand, summon and inform. Show the respect that expresses equality and the equality that is an expression of respect. Ask and listen, get the logic, explain where you think it wrong. Fill the airwaves with thoughtful exchanges.

No more "Borking" of nominees, she says, and I agree. It's noteworthy that it's the other side that consistently does that—both liberal Justices Breyer and Ginsburg sailed through without much GOP opposition, while conservatives Bork, Thomas, Roberts, Meyers, and Alito met fierce hostility from Democrats. I've been struck by the fact that then-Senator Obama voted against both Justice Roberts and Justice Alito solely because of their ideology. He stated publicly that they were both highly qualified for the job; he just didn't like that they were conservatives. He forgot that elections have consequences. Charles Krauthammer makes exactly this point in today's Washington Post. Here's what he says Republicans should do:

Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds—consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama—that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.

Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: a judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less "advantaged."

A teaching moment, as liberals like to say. Clarifying and politically potent. Seize it.

Enough of calling her a racist. Republicans should rise above the fray and use this moment for what it is: a golden opportunity to make the case for what they believe in to the American people.

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