The saddest part of this memo scandal isn't that it betrays the same tragic "they started it" finger-pointing that has made it all but impossible to confirm judges in America. The saddest part is that private documents taken and passed on without consent—and no matter what legal language you can chum up to defend it, that is what was done—have given all of us a Fear Factor-worthy glimpse at the squirming ugliness beneath the judicial confirmation fight. Those GOP staffers and the conservative groups who back them have led us into the sausage factory and hollered, "Ew. Sausage!" And unless you are 7, it strains credulity to argue that this virulent lobbying, pressure, and backroom deal-making goes on only among Democrats.
Nobody needed to swipe anything to prove to Americans how ugly the judge wars have become. Only the most naive among us could be shocked at the contents of the memos. But only the most cynical among us can defend the way they were procured.