Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More Roberts

I watched a large portion of Day 2 of the Roberts' hearing yesterday and some of this morning's action. Some of it made good theater, particularly when the nominee sparred with several of the more combative Democrats on the committee (Kennedy, Biden). Roberts carried himself very well through it all, speaking well and showing solid knowledge of the law. As expected, Senators spent much of the time making speeches instead of asking questions. The Republicans in particular were guilty of this, but what do you expect in "questioning" a nominee when it's a foregone conclusion that you will vote for the man?

Now into the second day of questioning the nominee, it's pretty clear that the nomination will clear the committee, receive a floor vote and be confirmed. The only question is the total number of votes. This is clear both from the tenor of the questions in the hearing and the media coverage. The cable news channels have cut away repeatedly from the hearing to cover other stories, including Bush at the United Nations. From this it seems clear that the media producers realize that there is little chance of any additional newsworthy fireworks, and as a result doesn't require constant coverage. Of course, without any major bombshells, either today or from the witnesses who will testify later in the week, there is no chance that this nomination will be derailed. None of this is surprising in the least, but it is interesting to see it play out exactly how many have expected it to since John Roberts was first nominated.

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