Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thank God he's almost done

Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton is rarely heard from, especially since he announced he is not running for reelection in 2006, but he remains in office, much to the chagrin of many Minnesotans. He sounded off the other day, announcing that he will vote against the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Cout, and added this:

"I am deeply concerned that he and President Bush's next nominee will shift the Supreme Court close to the extreme right for many years to come."

Now, the part about the next justice, who will replace Justice O'Connor, might make some sense. But if he really believes that Roberts' votes, as compared to the votes that Chief Justice Rehnquist has cast and would have cast, will shift the court to the right, he frankly had no business serving as a Senator. There are principled objections to John Roberts (to which I don't subscribe), and one can make at least a plausible case against him. But there is no indication whatsoever that his views, to the extent they would differ from those of Rehnquist, would take the court to the right. If anything, he's considered by legal observers as being, if anything, rather close to Rehnquist, for whom he served as a clerk. But in the world of judicial nominations today, where they have become knock-down political fights in which the truth takes a backseat. Mark Dayton is either wholly ignorant of the actual records of Roberts and Rehnquist, or he's playing political games with judicial nominations, like so many of both parties do. In either case, his term as senator can't end soon enough for me.


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