Overshadowed by the literal waves being made by Rita is the fact that Judge John Roberts has just been given a recommendation by the Senate Judiciary Committee, 13-5. The anti-Roberts votes were Democrats, as expected:
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California was the first to vote against Roberts this morning, followed by Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Joseph Biden of Delaware and Charles Schumer of New York.
I think they would have been my guesses after applying the crazy-meter to their lines of questioning. That number, by the way, is larger than the number of senators who opposed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senate-wide. Here’s the transcript of the confirmation debate.
Leahy, Kohl and Feingold backed the nominee. Most around here think the Democrats are trying to act reasonable in the Roberts process so that they get a pass on being completely unreasonable when Bush’s second nominee comes to the plate. I think that’s also what’s going on with editorial pages all over the country endorsing Roberts, especially the LAT:
“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.”
My co-worker Tim says Bush’s next nominee likely won’t come until Roberts is confirmed by the whole Senate next week (floor debate will start Friday). The name may even come after the October recess, which would be mid- to late-October.
Paul at PowerLine has a point about this committee vote:
A majority of the Committee’s Dems now has effectively endorsed the notion that it is proper for a Senator to vote against a supremely qualified conservative nominee, who receives top marks from the ABA and is backed by such liberal organs as the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, unless the nominee promises to decide issues the way the Senator desires. If a majority of Democrats vote that way on the Senate floor, then it seems to me that Republicans will have the right to apply this same concept when Democratic presidents nominate liberal judges in the future.
I’m hearing estimates of 63 or 64 votes on the floor for Roberts.
UPDATE: I noticed some questions about my status at Wizbang the last time I posted here and forgot to answer them. Kevin’s letting me post occasionally on the Roberts nomination while everyone is distracted by Katrina/Rita, Survivor babes, and politics of the great Northeast. I’ve been gone for the last week because things were slow on the SCOTUS front and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome (plus I was distracted by tailgating and Georgia football this weekend) So, long story short, you’ll see me around here every once in a while. Thanks for having me!