I'm finally getting around to my TiVo of the 4th day of the hearings. I'm not going to be able to check everyone's work, so I think I'll concentrate on the Democrats. I expect them to repeat what they've already said, but the repetitions of the Republicans will be less remarkable. So let's go.
First up for me is Patrick Leahy, asking about the FISA court and the threat it might pose to liberty. John Roberts says it concerns him too, but doesn't make it too bluntly obvious that Congress created that court.
Next is Ted Kennedy. He asks about the "50 million Americans" with disabilities. That makes me wonder who is included to get to such a large number. He's concerned about inviting all these persons into the mainstream and thinks anti-discrimination law should be uniform, federal law. Roberts gently informs him that there are some difficult legal questions, and Kennedy garbles through a statement that we can get to these legalisms later, but these decisions have an "extraordinary effect on people's lives."
Kennedy asks about affirmative action, and Roberts gives an eloquent answer in which he talks, among other things, about his participation in a program preparing minority students for the rigors of law school. (The point is that admission to law school is not enough. Students must be helped to do well after they arrive at the school, and he has worked at that.) Kennedy rejects a portion of the answer that refers to work involving Native Hawaiians, which Kennedy says was not really about affirmative action. I know nothing about that case, but I observe that Kennedy looks red and sounds blustery. His hands are shaky. I'm thinking he's agonizing, feeling the power draining out of him, as Roberts coolly stands his ground.
Now he's blabbering about the need for a heart. He seems to like to think about himself as representing heart.
Dianne Feinstein is next, and I realize only the Democrats are participating in this round. She compliments him on his "staying power." I wish someone would apologize for putting him through such an ordeal. She pesters him about a study about nine of his cases, which assertedly prove he's going to favor corporations against workers. He points out the statistical invalidity of a study of a mere nine cases. She pursues him about the Iran-Contra matter, and he indicates that he knows little about it. She persists. We see him sipping some water and squaring his shoulders and setting his face into the I-am-concerned-about-what-you're-saying position. I try to imagine the exact wording of his thoughts. Since I believe John Roberts is a human being, I'm guessing: Look like you care, it will be over soon.
I love the way the Democratic Senators act irritated every time he frames an answer in legal terms. Like it's evasive.
Russ Feingold is next, reading his prepared statement very fast. He engages Roberts over questions about habeas corpus. Roberts does a good job of explaining the problems that used to exist about repetitive petitions by prisoners. Congress itself agreed that these were problems and reformed habeas corpus in 1996. It's hard to pillory Roberts for hostility to the rights of convicted persons when Congress itself reformed the process. Feingold clearly knows this and doesn't go too far here. Please know that I regard Feingold as far superior to most of the other Senators.
Should I mention that Jane Sullivan Roberts, after wearing pink and then black, is wearing ivory today?
Skipping Sessions, we're up to the most hotheaded Senator, Chuck Schumer. Actually, Schumer charms me by laying his cards on the table. He knows Roberts is a top-notch litigator, so what question would Roberts ask if Roberts were Schumer and trying to find out if Roberts is an ideologue? Roberts says you've asked all the questions he expected, which makes Schumer say, "So I guess we did a better job than we think we did."
Schumer ends by acknowledging that they've put Roberts through a "grueling" ordeal, and he wins my admiration by saying that he's woken up in the middle of the night wondering what he should do with his vote. I've been assuming that Schumer would vote against Roberts, but I think he's figuring out that he'll seem unreasonable, even incomprehensible, if he votes no. He goes on to make a statement about how impressed he is by Roberts' profession of judicial "modesty," which he finds "appealing," but also wonders about what might be included in it, considering that he called Brown v. Board of Education modest. Will he overturn Wickard and Roe and call it "modest"? He asks a long series of questions about what Roberts will do, and he fairly observes that he genuinely doesn't know. Roberts answer is to assert that he is not an ideologue.
Well, it's gotten awfully late, and I'd like to do more, but I think I'm going to sign off now. I'll try to fill in some of the gaps that I've left tomorrow.
Are you worrying about me and my poor extracted tooth? I'm okay. I haven't even taken any Advil since this morning. The whole after surgery pain issue was overstated, in my opinion. But I do miss my body part. I mourn the loss!