In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2005 / 29 Elul, 5766

Roberts confirmation: Bork is owed an explanation

By Jonathan Turley

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On Sept. 29, by a 78-22 vote, the Senate confirmed Judge John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States. There remains only one lingering question for the Democratic senators to answer: Who is going to call and explain all of this to Robert Bork? Bork is one of those hapless historical characters who has actually become a verb in modern American politics. To "bork" a nominee is to launch a well-planned and coordinated campaign against him.

Almost 20 years later, Bork must have been watching the Roberts hearings in some disbelief. Roberts sailed through by simply refusing to answer questions, even about his past writings and opinions. Where senators gutted Bork before an audience of millions, they have gushed over Roberts. Yet Roberts appears to hold virtually identical views as Bork on a number of key issues and has a very similar résumé.

Roberts worked in prior Republican administrations advocating hard-right policies. So did Bork. Roberts worked in the solicitor general's office litigating hard-right policies. Bork was solicitor general. Roberts was a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia and wrote hard-right decisions. So did Bork. Roberts has written against core aspects of privacy, affirmative action, federal jurisdiction and other key areas. So did Bork. Indeed, with a little Botox and liposuction, Roberts would look a lot like Bork without the beard.

Roberts may indeed prove more reluctant to overturn some precedent than Bork. However, the reason that Roberts has sailed through is his style and not the substance of his views. Indeed, future hearings are likely to follow this model as a test of sound bites and spin without an ounce of substance.

The role of the confirmation hearing seems to be approaching irrelevancy in our system. Back in the 1980s, Senator Joe Biden, D-Del., chaired the Bork hearings and warned that "If Reagan sends someone up who has the same views as Bork, I believe he will not only have trouble, he will not have a nominee." However, when President Bush nominated such a nominee, Biden appeared much less aggrieved, even telling Roberts that "you're the best I've ever seen before the committee."

On one level, the Roberts hearings show how politics is now all visual. Where Bork was this sinister-looking figure with a Mephistopheles beard, Roberts is a camera-ready, handsome figure who looks like he was made from the latest composite material from the Republican National Committee. Teamed with a radiant wife and two adorable toddlers in saddle shoes and smiles, the family looks like they were stored in Karl Rove's office behind a glass reading "Break in case of confirmation hearings."

No bar against sharing views

Outfoxed by the White House, Democrats did not even have the presence of mind to grill Roberts on the one legal judgment that he offered in the hearings: Judicial ethics do not allow him to answer substantive questions on his views. It was the only clear conclusion that he gave, and it was clearly wrong. Judges and justices routinely share their philosophical views in various areas. It is only discussing actual cases that is barred under legal ethics. Obviously, some hypotheticals can trigger this bar, but there is nothing that prevents a justice or a nominee from discussing, for example, whether he or she believes that there is a right of privacy protecting homosexuals in their private relationships.

For Democratic senators, the refusal of Roberts to answer such questions has produced a curious acquiescence. In perhaps the most honest moment of the hearings, Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R.-Pa., noted that history has shown that "nominees answer about as many questions as they think they have to be confirmed." The only thing that might have forced substantive answers was a threat of a filibuster. After all, these same Democratic senators have vowed to filibuster appellate judges who were no more conservative than Roberts. Yet there was no talk of such measures to compel responses to core questions.

The Roberts model will leave a lasting legacy for hearings: perfunctory proceedings where senators parade and pander while the nominee smiles in silence. It also means that future presidents are likely to look for nominees who have spent their entire careers without distinction in their writing or speaking on key legal issues. If you are a creative and productive mind like Bork, you are toast for confirmation. If you live in the shadows of politics and never utter a controversial word, you are on easy street.

What is ironic is that the Democratic senators appear to like Roberts because he possesses many of their same skills. Roberts was able to artfully spin past statements and opinions to avoid their obvious meaning. He was able to elegantly refuse to answer questions while appearing to do so. He is "the best" because he was made for the Senate. In this respect, Bork may have been made for the court and academia. While Roberts loves the law, he avoided joining the public debate. He did so to protect himself from the consequences of being unpopular. Bork spent his life engaged in that debate despite the consequences.

When Roberts takes the chair of chief justice this week, I hope that someone in the Democratic caucus will call Bork and buy him lunch. They owe it to him.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.


© 2005, Jonathan Turley