A few observations:
- By my word-count of the transcript, Biden spoke 1116 words before finally getting to his first question. He also asked several other long and meandering questions-in-the-form-of-lectures.
As well, Biden interrupted Roberts at least five times during the questioning, forcing Specter to state on each occasion that Roberts should be allowed to answer. Biden's reactions included the following statements: "I don't have much time," or "He's filibustering" [this was said after a 15-word response from Roberts], or "But I have no time left."
This, I believe, is called chutzpah.
- Roberts' wry sense of humor was on display today, particularly in questioning by Sen. Kohl.
Judge, as we all know, you were originally nominated to replace the first woman ever to sit on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor. There was a lot of speculation when she announced her requirement that the president might choose a woman to replace her. And she even suggested a little disappointment, not with you, but with the fact that a woman was not chosen.Or this:
KOHL: Had the president told you that the selection was down to you and an equally qualified woman for the post, but that he thought a woman was needed, would you have seen that as a reasonable conclusion on his part?
ROBERTS: I certainly think presidents have and will consider a broad range of issues and characteristics and qualifications in selecting their nominees, and that's certainly one for a president to consider.
KOHL: All things being equal, in terms of qualifications, would you be pleased if the president chose a woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor?
ROBERTS: The upcoming vacancy?
ROBERTS: I just wanted to make clear we weren't talking about this one.
I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment in any way about the president's future selections other than to say that I'm happy with his past ones.
Judge Roberts, in an October 3, 1983, memo you wrote that while you served as associate White House counsel for the Reagan administration, you expressed support for judicial term limits. You did specifically support the idea of limiting judicial terms to 15 years and you said, I quote, "to ensure that federal judges would not lose all touch with reality through decades of ivory tower existence," unquote.
And do you still support in theory the idea of judicial term limits?
ROBERTS: You know, that would be one of those memos that I no longer agree with, Senator.
I didn't fully appreciate what was involved in the confirmation process when I wrote that.
- Senator Feinstein made this claim:
As I mentioned, for 60 years, the court didn't strike down a single federal law for exceeding congressional power under the commerce clause. Yet, in the last decade, the court's reinterpretation of the commerce clause has been used to strike down more than three dozen cases.If Feinstein is saying that the Supreme Court has struck down more than three dozen congressional enactments based on the Commerce Clause, that is simply false. If she's talking about lower courts that may have followed the Supreme Courts two recent cases on this issue, then I don't know what the right number is.