Wednesday, September 14, 2005

For the Pie-Eyed Record

Since this blog has turned into "What I am thinking/reading in law school/public policy school/business school/grad. school today," I might as well contribute to the decline. I found this tirade against Judge Robert's manner of answering questions quite funny.

SCHUMER: Let me just say, sir, in all due respect -- and I respect your intelligence and your career and your family -- this process is getting a little more absurd the further we move.

You agree we should be finding out your philosophy and method of legal reasoning, modesty, stability, but when we try to find out what modesty and stability mean, what your philosophy means, we don't get any answers.

It's as if I asked you: What kind of movies do you like? Tell me two or three good movies. And you say, I like movies with good acting. I like movies with good directing. I like movies with good cinematography.

And I ask you, No, give me an example of a good movie. You don't name one. I say, Give me an example of a bad movie.

SCHUMER: You won't name one. Then I ask you if you like

Casablanca, and you respond by saying, Lots of people like 'Casablanca.'

(LAUGHTER)

You tell me it's widely settled that Casablanca is one of the great movies.

SPECTER: Senator Schumer, now that your time is over, are you asking him a question?

SCHUMER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

14 comments:

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

On a basic level, I agree, these hearings are absurd. And some have harrumphed about this absurdity, such as Senator Biden, but it is precisely him and Democrats in general that are responsible for this precedent.

Ilya said...

How so? How are they responsible for this "precedent"?

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

This precedent, i.e., refusing to answer questions about cases that may come before the court, was established during the Ginsburg hearings and continued with Justice Breyer. Democrats, especially Sen. Biden, insisted on this approach. Further, the American Bar Association has repeatedly issued guidance along these lines. One could argue that Justices should be subject to greater scrutiny vis-a-vis future cases and how they might rule but to claim that Judge Roberts must do this, a republican appointee, after insisting that Ginsburg and Breyer, clinton appointees, did not have to, reeks of hypocrisy. That is the danger whenever you forward a new process or procedure in pursuit of your own interests, it may be used against you down the road.

Ilya said...

touché

Judd P said...

While I concede that it is a funny little analogy, the analogy is a poor one. These hearings are precisely to find out, to use the same example, how he reaches a judgment on what it is that makes a good movie. The movie, itself, is irrelevant because knowing whether he likes Casablanca will only help you decide if he's nuts or he's right on the mark. Knowing what he thinks of Casablanca will not help you determine what he thinks of American Pie, Forrest Gump, or Uncle Buck. Even worse, if he commits on Casablanca and he is presented a dissenting case involving Casablanca in the future, he is fairly strapped down to his original judgment (under oath) without opportunity to use new facts.

Xtra is right in that this is largely Senator Biden's doing. I think Biden was right in his day as chairman (during the Ginsburg hearings), and is simply being hypocritical now.

PiedPiper said...

Uncle Buck...now there's a classic.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xtrachromosomeconservative said...

The other thing is purely tactical. If the senators wanted to "get" Roberts all they need to do is shut up instead of yammering on about a strike zone a la Biden. Give him enough rope to hang himself. That's basically what happened with Bork though it appears that Roberts is pretty unflappable. But pols can't help themselves, they love the sound of their own voices.

archduke f. f. said...

Bruce Reed actually had some interesting things to say in Slate. Condensed, it amounted to, "The senators should ask Roberts off-the-wall questions." This stemming from the fact that Roberts--and the administration--spent months preparing for his confimation hearing. The questions should be only slightly related to judicial matters, so that they cause him to think laterally. Once he answers said question, the senators, in Reed's view, should ask a follow up more related to judicial philosophy. Because he was caught off guard by the previous question, he might be more likely to let slip an inkling of his ideology/judicial philosophy.

Coming from a center-left point of view, I like Roberts. I know it's annoying to watch him keep *not* answering questions, but he's said (I think by the dean of the UST Law School or another person of impressive rank) to be one of the ten best legal minds in the country. Maybe he's an ideologue--though I don't think he is, at least not on a large scale--but he is one who knows his limits within the scope and history of the US judiciary.

Cowboy said...

On these same lines, it's tremendously interesting to hear the debate on the role of the judiciary. "I'm an umpire" and all the other cheeseball metaphors aside, they really are going straight back to the 18th century and what the framers of the constitution intended.

Roberts, several times from what I have heard, makes a good point that the very notion of the judiciary is that it is removed from public approval, and another good reason that he can't elaborate on certain specific views is to strictly avoid any kind of bargaining for confirmation votes.

Cowboy said...

PS - Uncle Buck vs Ski Patrol - Pie-eyed, what do you say?

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

sky patrol, hands down

PiedPiper said...

Uncle Buck v. Ski Patrol? Perhaps John Roberts should weigh in on that one...I mean, I'm sure interest groups on both sides of the aisle would be able glean lots of great nuggets out of those comments.

Personally, I have to with Uncle Buck. What a climax!

Judd P said...

I'll go with Uncle Buck. If I'm ever nominated to the Supreme Court, however, this comment section isn't under oath.

In that case, there are some that say... (nevermind)