Monday, September 12, 2005

Day One of the Roberts Hearings

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the confirmation of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States began today. Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog and Matt Margolis at Blogs for Bush live blogged the hearings. For my part, I attempted to listen to them via C-span.

My impression matched my expectations - a lot of blather. Today's hearing consisted simply of opening statements from the 18 Judiciary Committee members, the three senators tasked with "introducing" Roberts and the nominee himself. Nothing much of substance was said, with senators from both sides repeating talking points. I suppose someone who hasn't been paying attention might be interested to hear that Chuck Schumer thinks that Roberts must answer questions about previously decided questions, or that John Cornyn would advise him not to answer specific questions, or that Dianne Feinstein considers Roe v. Wade a most important issue (Sam Brownback too, although from the opposite side). But someone who hasn't been paying attention to the issue of judicial appointments probably wasn't watching the hearing.

John Roberts did make a very nice impression in his six minute opening statement, made without the aid of notes. But this too was completely to be expected from the accomplished Supreme Court litigator. It points to how well he is likely to perform over the next two days of questioning.

The real fireworks begin tomorrow morning.

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