I’ve written about the fact that their first rulings on the Supreme Court show Roberts and Alito Misled Us. Now, Senator Edward Kennedy responds to the gap between the picture presented during the confirmation hearings and the reality of the rulings:
The discussion should start with a few truths. First, any qualified nominee to the Supreme Court will have spent many years thinking about legal issues. We should require that nominees share that thinking with the Judiciary Committee, and not pretend that such candor is tantamount to prejudging specific cases. In particular, the Senate should have the same access to the nominee’s writings as the administration. Second, the Judiciary Committee will need to reorganize the way it asks questions. An in-depth inquiry will require something more than short rounds of questions that pass from senator to senator. Third, we need to remember what this process is all about. It is good to hear that a nominee has a loving family, faithful friends and a sense of humor. It is important to know that nominees possess the intellect, life experience and discipline that make a good judge. But it is essential that we learn enough of their legal views to be certain that they will make good on the simple promise etched in marble outside the Supreme Court: “Equal Justice Under Law.”
A nominee isn’t just a billboard for family values, they are accomplished lawyers and judges who should be willing to frankly discuss their philosophy, their record and the potential impact of rulings on the public.