March 28, 2009

This particular issue sticks in my craw, because the Democratic activists blew it on Roberts and Alito. I was involved in several conference calls with senators at the time, and I was furious that opponents insisted on making the anti-Roberts and Alito pushback based on abortion rights.

"That's insane," I said. "Why would you want to oppose either of them on the basis of the single most divisive issue we have, when they both have records of always ruling for corporations at the expense of the little guy? That's something that most people can relate to. Make abortion the issue, and you've already lost, because the right wing is better at mobilizing their forces."

But hey, I guess that's why I'm just a lowly blogger and not a U.S. Senator:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that John Roberts misled the Senate during his confirmation hearings by pretending to be a moderate — and that the United States is now “stuck” with him as chief justice.

“Roberts didn’t tell us the truth. At least Alito told us who he was,” Reid said, referring to Samuel Alito, the second Supreme Court justice nominated by President George W. Bush. “But we’re stuck with those two young men, and we’ll try to change by having some moderates in the federal courts system as time goes on — I think that will happen.”

You'd think at some point that Harry Reid would have noticed the huge gap between what Republican true-believers say, and what they actually do, but I guess Harry has people who do that for him.

Reid’s comments, which came during a wide-ranging discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, reflect Democratic concerns that Roberts presented himself as a neutral arbiter of the law but has wielded a relentlessly conservative agenda. Republicans reject the attacks, saying Roberts has been a fair judge and has been consistent in his opinions.

Although Reid said that Democrats will try to put moderates on the bench, he said he will not try to deny Republicans the right to filibuster nominees. In 2005, then-Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to eliminate the filibuster, sparking a furious reaction by Reid and other Democrats who said the so-called nuclear option would quash the rights of the minority.

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