October 31, 2005
"Guarantees are for used cars and washing machines, not Supreme Court justices," Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said yesterday on CNN. Not entirely true. There is no reason Senators cannot extract a promise from judicial nominees to decide specific types of cases in specific ways before they vote to confirm them. Roberts, for example, was unnecessarily allowed to wiggle out of answers to numerous questions on grounds these subjects might come before the Court. True, the Constitution leaves judges free to decide actual cases as they think best once on the bench but violation of a general guarantee offered in a confirmation hearing could arguably be grounds for impeachment. At a minimum, getting judges to promise to decide types of cases in specific ways before confirmation by the people's representatives would set a more democratic standard for the judiciary.
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