Feinstein Not Formidable

Dianne Feinstein does her darndest to look silly by spending most of her allotted time asking about toads and women jokes.

Perhaps the saddest part of the exchange was when she opened with a question about Roberts’ notorious, “sexist” joke, first freaked out about by the Washington Post:

In a July 31, 1985, memo, Roberts noted that, as an assistant dean at the University of Richmond law school before she joined the Reagan administration, Arey had “encouraged many former homemakers to enter law school and become lawyers.” Roberts said in his memo that he saw no legal objection to her taking part in the Clairol contest. Then he added a personal aside: “Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide.”

And we’re the humorless conservatives, right? Seriously, this was clearly a lawyer joke, not a slight of women. I can’t tell you how ridiculous it looked for Feinstein to follow a line of questioning that required him to explain this fact to her. I think she realized that about halfway through Roberts’ answer (which was essentially, “duh, that was a joke” in nicer terms), because she started saying “well, I don’t want to belabor it.”

Translation: “Ummm, this is making me look rather humorless and foolish, as well as having the effect of making my case against you look increasingly weak, so let’s back this train up, shall we?”

Feinstein also harped on a couple of other writings Roberts has done, which as far as I can tell, she deemed kind of mean. She wondered aloud if his writings represented an acerbic pen or something more sinister…(perhaps a hatred of women? Hmmm?!?).

She then asked about Roberts’ “hapless toad” comments from a commerce clause case with regard to the Endangered Species Act. Lesson to be learned: asking a Supreme Court nominee about a lawyer joke and a toad does not make one look like a formidable senator.

Preospective Round 2 Question from Feinstein:

“So, Judge Roberts, let’s go over this one more time. Because you will be taking a life appointment on this all-important bench, I simply must insist that you explain to me one more time–what is it that comes after “knock, knock” and what are the implications of that on Roe v. Wade?”

Update: The Corner finds Feinstein’s facts are also less than formidable.

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  1. cirby September 13, 2005
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