July 10, 2005

Hearings Impaired


From the July 3rd Washington Post: Parties Line Up Strategies for Hearings on Nomination (registration required).

The two parties have begun outlining their strategies for confirmation hearings once President Bush nominates a successor to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, with Senate Republicans planning a rapid and rigid schedule designed to prevent Democrats from pinning the nominee down on divisive issues such as abortion. ...

Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate. ...

Lawmakers and aides said leaders are conscious of the poor image of Congress in recent polls and are determined to avoid having the two to three days of nationally televised hearings come off like a trial. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) appealed for hearings marked by "dignity and respect."

That does not appear likely. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on courts, said an effort to choke off inquiries about specific issues would fail because Democrats believe they have "an obligation to our country and the Constitution to thoroughly vet the nominee." [Emphasis added]

Posted by Forkum at July 10, 2005 08:05 PM