Stupid Questions to Judicial Nominees: Good for Geese and Ganders:
So on one of the chatalot Sunday shows, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer declared that the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would actually question a nominee to the Supreme Court on his or her views on, well, shit, legal issues. Said Schumer, "All questions are legitimate. What is your view on Roe v. Wade? What is your view on gay marriage? They are going to try to get away with the idea that we're not going to know their views. But that's not going to work this time."

To this Republican Orrin "Behold My Mormon Scowl of Repressed Libido" Hatch said, "Any member of the committee can ask whatever they want, no matter how stupid," adding that nominees had been pressed to give their views on potential judicial matters, "but never to the degree" Schumer hinted at. Later, on some other who-gives-a-shit talker, Republican baboon Jeff Sessions pronounced such questions on specific matters "highly objectionable," saying, "You cannot ask a judge to prejudge a specific matter."

Well, as usual, they'd've both done well to look at the recent history of hearings on nominees to the Supreme Court. Here's Orrin Hatch questioning Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in July 1993 about the death penalty: "But do you agree with all the current sitting members of the Court that it is constitutional? Is it within the Constitution?" Indeed, Hatch had berated Ginsberg endlessly trying to get her to pop her Constitutional cherry on offing criminals.

Ask a stupid question and, well, fuck, guess you get a stupid answer: Ginsburg responded that one must never ask a judge how she may vote on a case that might come before her. Hatch barked back, "But that's not what I asked you. I asked you is it in the Constitution?" which is precisely what she'd have to judge if she became a Supreme Court justice. Indeed, when Ginsburg continued to refuse to be drawn into a discussion of whether or not capital punishment is "cruel and unusual," Hatch was exasperated and demanded, "I think you ought to tell us where you really come down." In other words, a Republican Senator, in the minority, demanded to know how Ginsburg would judge capital punishment cases.

When Republican Senator William Cohen asked Ginsburg about discrimination based on sexual orientation, she again declined to answer because it was a possible case that she may have to decide. Ginsburg was more than willing to talk about decisions she had written, as in her frank discussion of abortion rights and women's rights in general. Cohen also pressed Stephen Breyer in 1994, when Breyer was a nominee, asking him directly for the future justice's personal opinion on the death penalty. (Oh, for the days when the Republicans only had a hard-on for killing the guilty.)

So, like, as ever, Republicans are hiding behind reportage and discussion devoid of any semblance of historical context. Or, to put it simply, they're just gonna lie and say whatever the fuck they want to get their way.

Out here in Left Blogsylvania, since Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement last Friday, there's been sooo much talk about whether the "Gang of 14" deal will hold, what the strategy will be wherein Bush will fuck us over one more time, will the nominee be batfuck-Ann-Coulter insane or just plain ol' nutzoid, and filibuster, filibuster, filibuster. The Rude Pundit declines to get involved until the inevitable motherfucker is nominated (because, you know, Bush always nominates motherfuckers).

Except to say this: it's time for so-called moderate Republicans to put the fuck up or shut the fuck up. When some odious, torture-supportin', rights abandonin', abortion-overturnin' piece of shit is the nominee, don't fuckin' hope and pray that Democrats will take the bullet for your pusillanimity in standing up to the White House. In other words, if you rely on the Democratic filibuster to shield you from expressing your disgust with the Bush administration, then you deserve your upcoming wacko-conservative primary challenger that the lunatic right will put up against you.

By the way, the Rude Pundit won't be joining in the encomiums to Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme Court tenure. Sure, sure, sure, she happened to be an available conservative woman who happened to be a judge when Ronald Reagan was trying to shore up some street cred with half of America. But that's circumstance. Sure, sure, she was a swing vote in favor of abortion rights and affirmative action.

And she was also the swing vote on Bush v. Gore, which led us to this moment in history, with war in Iraq, the steady dismantling of rights that O'Connor supported, and the final rightward shift of the court itself. Fuck her. That one decision undoes all the others.