September 19, 2002

JEFF COOPER has a good post on judicial appointments, arguing that character and intellect are more important than ideology. I think he's right.

I haven't posted much on the confirmation battles because, well, I guess I've just given up on the process. About ten years ago I had a piece in the Southern California Law Review suggesting that the Senate put together a list of presumed-acceptable candidates from whom the President could select a nominee who would then go straight to the floor for a fast-track style up/down vote. I thought that this would give the "advice" part of "advice and consent" some content, and it would be self-policing, since if the Senate picked lousy nominees the President could still proceed in the traditional way, but with the credentials of the Senate's list providing a standard for comparison. Meanwhile, if the President ignored the list for partisan purposes, the Senate would have a basis for calling his nominees bad.

I thought it was clever, and workable. And maybe it was, then. But now I think the process has become so political that no "structural reform" is likely to work. Even an approach like the one sketched above needs some goodwill to function, and I don't think there's any to be had. Yeah, that's depressing, but that's how I see it right now.