Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he will be voting against John Roberts. When pressed for specifics, Reid said that Judge Roberts’s performance at his confirmation hearings was at an eighth-grade level, and nowhere near the standard of Justice Scalia’s dissent in the Hillside Dairy case.
Kidding! I just enjoy reminding people of Reid’s claim that Justice Thomas’s dissent in the Hillside Dairy case was inferior to Justice’s Scalia’s. For some reason, that always makes me laugh. I think it’s because Justice Scalia wrote no dissent in that case.
No, Sen. Reid gave a very serious and weighty reason for his opposition. Reid paid careful attention to E.J. Dionne’s piece from Sunday, which argued that “the doubts about Roberts have nothing to do with his good heart.” Taking the hint, Reid stated of Roberts: “I’m not too sure if his heart is as big as his head.”
See? It’s not the goodness of the heart. It’s the size.
Who says size doesn’t matter?
Now, Sen. Reid’s excuse strikes me as a trifle manufactured, since (except in freakish cases) a man’s head is generally much larger than his heart. To my knowledge, every living and former Justice has possessed a head noticeably larger than his or her heart. Indeed, for a candidate actually to possess a heart larger than his head would be a circumstance so extraordinary, even I might support a filibuster.
If Senators were required to possess larger hearts than heads as a qualification for their positions, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) would be required to have a heart the size of a prize-winning pumpkin. But when did Harry Reid ever make that point? Huh?
I heard excerpts of Reid’s statement today, and I don’t want to mislead you: the relative sizes of Judge Roberts’s head and heart were not Reid’s only issues. He was also very upset that Roberts once used the phrase “illegal amigos.” Also, he noted, Judge Roberts once used the phrase “illegal amigos.” And finally: small heart.
None of this should be surprising. When I made my recent prediction that Committee Democrats would mostly vote for Roberts, I was giving them (except for Kennedy) credit for being, well, smart. It goes without saying that no such credit was ever extended to Reid, nor should it be.
What remains to be seen is whether the rest of the Democrats will follow Reid’s example. I still have my doubts. Even the L.A. Times endorsed Roberts, saying: “It will be a damning indictment of petty partisanship in Washington if an overwhelming majority of the Senate does not vote to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. to be the next chief justice of the United States.”
If Reid’s party goes this route, they will show themselves to be utterly without any credibility. And the President will be able to bring on Judge Michael Luttig without any serious repercussions. That will be a sweet day, because Luttig is a great judge — even if his dissent in the Hillside Dairy case didn’t quite match up to Scalia’s.
P.S. Put succinctly, Harry Reid is stuck on stupid.