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Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose

Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy has announced he will back John Roberts for Chief Justice. Sen. Edward Kennedy said he will vote against him. John Kerry is likely to vote no as well.

Update: Excerpts from John Kerry's statement of reasons for opposing Roberts is here.

My biggest concern right now is that Justice Stevens will retire. That will mean Bush packs the court with three new conservatives.

Update (by TChris): David Corn weighs in, arguing that the Democratic leadership (such as it is) needs to stay in synch with its base rather than dividing on key issues.

< Specter Consults, Wants O'Connor to Remain on Court | WSJ: GOP Using Katrina Relief to Advance Agenda >
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  • Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    WTF has the water in Vermont been drugged? Sellout, who would have guessed.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#2)
    by dutchfox on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    I'm calling Leahy's office now. Just heard about his yes-vote on NPR. Arlen Spector and Leahy said the same thing...they'd vote for confirmation, although they had said that Roberts had not answered their questions during the hearings. So, why not extend the hearings? Is the duration for them set in stone? Does the Republican chair (Spector) set it? This is important because Roberts, if chosen, will be Chief of teh Supremos for many years.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    Roberts is the best, most qualified candidate -- can you believe it, a conservative president with a conservative congress nominated a conservative judge???? OH MY GOD!!!!!!! Oh wait, Ginsberg was the FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE ACLU -- CONFIRMED BY 96 VOTES!!!!! And your retort is......???????

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    Off topic: TL - Stevens has hired his clerk for the October '06 term so if you care about the Court, lets gets some dems in the judiciary & start by ousting Santorum. On-topic: Dems face a loss of popular support by not supporting Roberts. He is right of center byt well to the left of Rehnquist / Scalia / Thomas. He is well within the mainstream. If I were a Senator I would vote for him. But, I completely understand those who believe a line needs to be drawn and Roberts was over that line.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    "Pack" the court? Sheesh, I'm starting to think that TL doesn't fully understand the concept of elections. Here's a tip: In 2004, your side lost the Senate (big) and the White House. What does that mean? It means that, in the event of a vacancy on the court, your side's voice is mostly muted. You want to change that? Start by convincing more people to vote your way. Whining about court "packing" is just lame.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    JR-don't whine about filibuster, as Orin Hatch removed the checks that we had for 200 years to balance the situation you describe (a short lived situation for sure) Here is a little history lesson courtest of TL and here Sen. Hatch
    After he assumed control of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the mid-1990s, Senator Hatch began to rigorously enforce a blue slip policy under which nominations could not move forward without the consent of both home state Senators. In 1998, this policy was made explicit on the blue slips themselves, which stated that “[n]o further proceedings on this nominee will be scheduled until both blue slips have been returned by the nominee’s home state senators.”
    link
    Senator Jesse Helms used his blue slip to block any action on all African-American nominees to the Fourth Circuit for more than four years.
    but in 2001 the new Bush WH starts to Hatch a plan:
    ASSOCIATED PRESS (4/24/01): Senate Republicans are being accused by Democrats of trying to make it easier for President Bush to fill the federal bench with conservatives by doing away with a practice that allows a single home-state senator to easily defeat any nomination... At issue is the so-called "blue slip" tradition, referring to the blue-colored approval papers that senators are asked to submit on nominees for filling vacant federal judgeships in their state. When Democrats controlled the Senate, they allowed judicial nominees from Republican Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush to move forward if just one senator from a state submitted a blue slip. After Republicans took control of the Senate in 1994, new Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, refused to move a nomination from Democrat Clinton forward unless he had blue slip approvals from both senators. Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina used the tactic to block all of Clinton's court nominees from his state. Democrats say Hatch wants to eliminate that policy so they can't block the new Republican president's nominees.
    link in 2003:
    Now, however, Hatch has apparently declared a new policy saying that even though a senator’s decision not to return a blue slip would be given great weight, it would not be allowed to prevent Hatch from moving nominees he wants to move. “In other words,” says Hatch, “we can go ahead with certain nominees where you might have a withheld blue slip.”
    linked text Filibuster is all that is left to check to the way out of balance US gov.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    Since I linked it for Jim in another thread, here's strong evidence that Bush did not win Ohio in 2004, since quite a few partisans had their thumbs in their ears and didn't hear the news that Bush lost both elections for president: Conyers' Report on Ohio Voting Irregularities Can YOU wait in line TEN HOURS in order to vote? If you're white, you don't have to. But 40% of Cuyahoga county's (black) Democratic vote didn't get reported. Apparently they didn't have the right answers to the literacy test. It's easy to win elections -- just don't let the other side VOTE.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#8)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:11 PM EST
    Feinstein, too, is going to vote no. As I've said elsewhere, I see no real point in fighting this nomination, and even detect a certain silliness in voting "No" at this point but I don't blame this particular Senator in the slightest. If I had a vite and the nominee openly lied to me, I'd vote 'No' too.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#9)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:11 PM EST
    And as far as the prospect of Stevens retiring goes, all I can say is, this once-great nation is turning out more and more like a frightening sci-fi movie every day. Tell you what, I don't care how sick or tired he is, unless the man simply cannot perform his duties, he has a moral obligation to hang in there at least through 2006--just in case lightning strikes and the Dems learn how to win a couple of elections. I'll hate Stevens far worse than Bush, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and the lot of them if he retires now.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#10)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:11 PM EST
    AllWrits, you write: "He is [. . .] well to the left of Rehnquist / Scalia / Thomas. He is well within the mainstream." On what do you base these assertions? Surely not the don't ask/don't tell hearings? Evidence please.

    Re: Leahy to Back Roberts, Kennedy to Oppose (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:12 PM EST
    Paul - I've read Conyers "report" I'd be embarrassed for a 6th grader that turned in such shoddy work. Conyers is an embarrassment to the house - he's just not that bright.