Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, September 19, 2005

NYT Endorses Roberts?!

From the NYTimes Editorial Page:
While members of the Senate Judiciary Committee droned through John Robert's hearings last week, the nominee could have been forgiven for thinking, "Don't scoff, hang on a little longer and you're in."

Endure he did, showing not only knowledge, but also the patience and courtesy befitting a justice of the highest court. No thanks to the committee, the hearings displayed the workings of a focused legal mind. He dwarfed not only his questioners but all the recent nominees to the Supreme Court he will soon join. Fortunately the senators realize this much: He deserves speedy confirmation.

Judge Roberts ... outclassed those entrusted to advise and consent on his nomination to replace [former Chief Justice Renquist]. Fittingly, most of the senators admitted they were not in his league, although the Senator from Delaware, Joseph Biden, and other preening members insisted on their own shows, largely in the form of erratic questions. . . .

While the politicians repeatedly pressed for bottom lines on particular issues like the death penalty and gay rights, Mr. Roberts asked to be judged as a judge, not as an advocate. Senators who could not be educated yielded anyway--to the reality that Judge Roberts enjoys overwhelming Senate support.
Confused? Think the NYT finally saw the light? Not a chance -- because I cheated. First I lifted the excerpt of this 1993 editorial lock, stock and barrel from Opinion Journal's Best of the Web. Then I changed "Ginsburg" to "Roberts," "she" to "he," and so forth. As James Taranto puts it:
Change "Ginsburg" to "Roberts," "she" to "he," "the chairman" to "Delaware's premier windbag," and so on, and this could very easily be an editorial about last week's hearings. So what's the difference? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Ginsburg was nominated by a Democrat and Roberts by a Republican?

True, Ginsburg wasn't up for chief justice, a position whose importance the Times exaggerates, perhaps out of Earl Warren nostalgia. (In a 1986 editorial opposing William Rehnquist, the Times rhapsodized that the chiefdom is "the noblest position in American law.") But does anyone really believe that a nominee for associate justice should "be judged as a judge, not as an advocate," while a would-be chief should be required to reveal his rulings in advance?