New York’s senior senator, Chuck Schumer, began with some observations about Judge Roberts’ “troubling” record on “the issue of civil rights.” Ah-ha! “Many of us consider racism the nation’s poison,” he said sternly. And then he dropped the big one: Twenty-five years ago Roberts had inappropriately used the word “amigos” in a memo.
I yield to no one in my disdain for Schumer, but at that moment my heart went out to him. If I’d been president, I’d have declared his mouth a federal disaster area and allocated $200 billion so FEMA could parachute in a reconstruction team to restore his tongue to its previous level of toxicity.
Alas, two days later the watery gush that had transformed Schumer into his own devastated wetland had still not dried up. He’d pretty much abandoned the racism angle of the inappropriate “amigos,” though he trotted out some boilerplate about how it reflected the “misguided” and “cramped view of civil rights professed in the early Reagan administration.” But by Day Four, he’d moved on to “the question of compassion and humanity,” telling the judge that he had grave concerns about “the fullness of your heart.”
And what was Exhibit A for the heartlessness of Roberts? Well, back in the early ’80s it seems he wrote this memo containing the word “amigos.”
Oh, dear. With enemies like Chuck, who needs amigos? Whatever happened to the party’s fearsome forensic skills at “the politics of personal destruction”? Granted, blathering on about how, if the other guy doesn’t agree with your views, he must be deficient in “compassion and humanity” is a lot of baloney even by mawkish Dem standards. But, if you’re going to twitter about the fullness of somebody’s heart, why get Chuck Schumer to play Senator Oprah? He has the shifty air of a mob accountant, even with every intern on his staff holding onions under his eyes. Likewise, sneering at Roberts’ life of privilege may be a smart move, but not if you entrust it to Dianne Feinstein, one of the wealthiest women in the galaxy.
But, like Lord Cardigan’s 13th Light Dragoons facing the Russian guns at Balaclava, onward they rode into the Valley of Death — or the Valley of Continuous Cable News Coverage, which boils down to flogging your dead horse through a Valley of Living Death.
In her post linking to Steyn, Betsy also has some thoughts on how the Democrats’ votes on Roberts will resonate with their base. Ed Morrissey predicts, “Roberts will get Feinstein and Kohl’s vote, perhaps Feingold as well as Leahy, the one Democrat who may have improved his standing overall. That will be all.” But he also notes one surprise endorsement: the Washington Post, which concludes:
JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. should be confirmed as chief justice of the United States. He is overwhelmingly well-qualified, possesses an unusually keen legal mind and practices a collegiality of the type an effective chief justice must have. He shows every sign of commitment to restraint and impartiality. Nominees of comparable quality have, after rigorous hearings, been confirmed nearly unanimously. We hope Judge Roberts will similarly be approved by a large bipartisan vote.
In other words, it sounds like a done deal, and despite our best efforts all summer long at savaging the judge and his family, there’s nothing we at the Post can do to stop it.