Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Republicans Singing a Tune

Not that it will matter much, but before you're tempted to swallow the Republican line about not asking judicial nominees any actual questions, remember this:

Here's Orrin Hatch questioning Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in July 1993 about the death penalty:

"But do you agree with all the current sitting members of the Court that it is constitutional? Is it within the Constitution?"

Indeed, Hatch had berated Ginsberg endlessly trying to get her to pop her Constitutional cherry on offing criminals.


Ginsburg responded that one must never ask a judge how she may vote on a case that might come before her.

Hatch barked back, "But that's not what I asked you. I asked you is it in the Constitution?"

which is precisely what she'd have to judge if she became a Supreme Court justice.

Indeed, when Ginsburg continued to refuse to be drawn into a discussion of whether or not capital punishment is "cruel and unusual," Hatch was exasperated and demanded, "I think you ought to tell us where you really come down."

In other words, a Republican Senator, in the minority, demanded to know how Ginsburg would judge capital punishment cases.

When Republican Senator William Cohen asked Ginsburg about discrimination based on sexual orientation, she again declined to answer because it was a possible case that she may have to decide. Ginsburg was more than willing to talk about decisions she had written, as in her frank discussion of abortion rights and women's rights in general. Cohen also pressed Stephen Breyer in 1994, when Breyer was a nominee, asking him directly for the future justice's personal opinion on the death penalty.

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