Two days after President Washington nominated John Jay to become the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court the Senate unanimously confirmed him. There were no hearings, no serious thoughts of oversight, and it's fair to call that confirmation a "rubber stamp". Today, about a quarter mile from where I sit Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing is entering it's third full day and the predicted (and predictable) result will be the same: no meaningful oversight and what amounts to a rubber stamp of approval for the President's choice. Setting aside for a moment whether the Senate's deference to the President's judicial picks ought to preclude meaningful inquiry into things like temperment and legal philosphy, what is particularly striking about this three day circus is that, as with most Congressional hearings, it is all about providing a platform for politicians to campaign for office. While no revelation surely, it is still astounding to me how this transparent display of uselessness and dearth of knowledge goes unaddressed in any meaningful way in the press and among the public. Perhaps deference should be paid to the President's choice (though Harriet Miers and Judge's Bork and Ginsberg recieved little), perhaps not. But any serious examination of the past three days has to center not on the choice made by the President, but the choices made by the petty politicians in the Senate to avoid any serious investigation into honest questions about Kagan's temperment, privileged background, political hackery, and dearth of experience outside the rarified air of DC and Harvard. Those questions appearantly must take a back seat to stump speechifying and predicable political triangulation. Best to return to allowing the President to pick who he or she wants if the confirmation is little more than taxpayer-funded theater with unconvincing performances.
It's been a long time since I posted anything here and I am going to attempt to keep the blog updated more regularly now that I have figured out how to post on the fly via e-mail wonderfulness. We'll see how it goes.