Don't get me wrong: All this talk of Roberts' heart and soul and conscience are the only way to get at the real problem—that John Roberts is more in love with legal processes than justice. This is surely worrisome to the Democrats on the committee. But George Bush long ago proved the fundamental silliness of purporting to be able to look into another man's heart. In a process in which past cases and future cases are not open to discussion; in which hypothetical and concrete fact patterns are not open to discussion; in which the political and the personal are off the table; and in which any intellectual or theoretical framework cannot be offered, we are all just left to viscerally guess at whether the nominee is a good guy. The vote today goes 13 to 5 that he is.
Based on the testimony of everyone who actually knows him, I'll hazard a guess that Roberts really is a good guy. But I'd still rather have him as my baby's godfather than as chief justice. It's just a feeling I have ...
Lest you think I'm being too easy on Senate Republicans, I hasten to add that Lindsey Graham's (and today, John Cornyn's) disgraceful use of these hearings to attack Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a champion of legalized prostitution, polygamy, and pederasty is beyond vile. Especially as it comes cloaked in calls for the Democrats to abandon partisanship in the confirmation process. Schumer is quite right to point out this morning that conservatives, not liberals, have made attacks on judges the cornerstone of their political project. Now even as they call for bipartisanship, they can't seem to resist attacking a judge with distorted versions of her 30 year old writings. Nice.
Wags everywhere are speculating whether Chief Justice Roberts will keep wearing the eight gold bars his predecessor sewed onto his sleeves several years back. He should; it may distract from the fact that he definitely won't be wearing his heart there.