OK

Billmon has been on fire on Rovegate and it is great to see him writing again with such frequency. A must stop at least a couple of times of day.

But I must take issue with  part of his latest post. But first the agreement:

That's pretty much the last ten years of American political history in a nutshell. While liberals sift and weigh the evidence, debate alternative points of view, and reach for that ever elusive "fairness," the conservative machine sifts and weighs alternative propaganda points, debates the best way to manipulate public opinion, and reaches for power -- first, last and always.

The modern conservative movement understands that fair and balanced is a marketing slogan: an Orwellian label for its exact opposite.

Who besides Hugh Hewitt could deny this? And let's be clear - I believe in fighting - hard and with relentless, even annoying, determination. But we also believe in fighting smart. Here is what Billmon is missing in my opinion - from Harry Reid:

In the end, Judge Roberts must demonstrate to the Senate that he is a worthy successor to Justice O'Connor.  To do that, he must win the confidence of the American people that he will be a reliable defender of their constitutional rights.  John Roberts has argued many cases in his career, but this is the most important.

Ever since Justice O'Connor announced her retirement I have called on the President to choose a nominee who can unite the country, not divide it.  It remains to be seen whether John Roberts fits that description.  I hope that he does, and I look forward to giving him the opportunity to make his case to the American people.

The burden is on Roberts to prove his worthiness, not on us to prove his unworthiness. As I wrote last night, he must provide full information and answer fully and frankly on a number of key issues, especially Roe.

This is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.

Reid's full statement in extended.

Update [2005-7-20 15:53:30 by Armando]: Reading the comments, it seems clear to me that many people have failed to see that Billmon is advising that we NOT fight on Roberts:
The real question, then, is purely pragmatic: Do the political benefits of going to the mat over Roberts outweigh the costs? My judgement (and I realize I could be wrong about this) is that they do not -- both because he looks just about impossible to stop, and because even bigger Supreme Court battles almost certainly lie ahead: after Rehnquist and then when the first of the "liberal" justices retires. And that last one really does promise to be the judicial battle of Armageddon.
I believe we are fighting it, and intelligently. As we should.

Update [2005-7-20 18:26:25 by Armando]: Billmon states that he is not against fighting against Roberts:
Armando at Daily Kos has a reaction to my previous post in which he claims: "Billmon is advising that we NOT fight on Roberts." This is not correct. The question isn't whether to oppose the nomination -- that's a given. To me, going to the mat means just that -- a no holds (or at least, few holds) barred wrestling match in which you use all of your energy and resources to defeat your opponent, not just to make some sort of symbolic gesture. The question is how hard to fight the nomination. The phrase I used in my post was "go to mat." . . . If the Dems really wanted to stop Roberts, they'd bork him -- bork him like nobody has ever been borked before (see above.) It probably wouldn't work, but it's the only strategy I can think of that possibly could work.
(Emphasis mine.) Frankly, I again disagree with Billmon. What I describe I do not believe to be a symbolic gesture, but the only real strategy for opposing a nominee like Roberts, should oppositon be called for. "Borking" requires a record. Bork had a huge and offensive one. For Billmon to ignore that is to miss the whole point in my opinion. That said, obviously this is an exchange of reasonable opinions and certainly I could be wrong or Billmon could be wrong. I hope neither of us need doubt the good will of each other.

Update [2005-7-20 21:14:9 by Armando]: Billmon's latest tells us that we have to think like Michael, not Fredo. Well, It hink he is advocating the Sonny approach, and we know how that worked out at the causeway toll booth. Michael, however, ceded lots of ground to the families, got his ducks in a row and THEN knocked them out. Mai I suggest that Billmon is really advocating theSonny approach while I am the one advocating the Michael approach.

Sen Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate:

Last night the President announced that he will nominate Judge John G. Roberts of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to the United States Supreme Court.  I congratulate Judge Roberts on this high honor.

Now the Senate begins the process of deciding whether to confirm John Roberts to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court is the final guardian of the rights and liberties of all Americans.  Serving on the Court is an awesome responsibility, and the Constitution gives the Senate the final say in whether a nominee deserves that trust.  We should perform our constitutional role with great care.

John Roberts has had an impressive legal career.  Both in government and in private practice, he has been a zealous and often successful advocate for his clients.  He has argued many cases before the Supreme Court and is respected for his legal skills.  By all accounts he is a very nice man.

But while these are important qualities, they do not automatically qualify John Roberts to serve on the highest court in the land.  Nor does the fact that he was confirmed to serve on the court of appeals mean that he is entitled to be promoted.  The standard for confirmation to the Supreme Court is very high.  A nominee must demonstrate a commitment to the core American values of freedom, equality and fairness.  Senators must be convinced that the nominee will respect constitutional principles and protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.

The expectations for Judge Roberts are especially high because he has such large shoes to fill.  Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been a voice of reason and moderation on the Court for 24 years.  She has been the deciding vote on some of the most important questions in our society - questions of civil rights, civil liberties, the right to privacy and the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion.  Justice O'Connor should only be replaced by someone who, like her, is firmly in the constitutional mainstream.  

To gather the information it needs to make this decision, the Senate turns first to the Judiciary Committee.  I am confident that Chairman Specter and Ranking Member Leahy will ensure a thorough review of Judge Roberts's record and his views.  Clearly a judicial nominee should not comment on pending cases, but there are many other questions a nominee should answer.  I encourage Judge Roberts to be forthcoming in responding to the Committee's questions and in providing written materials requested by Senators.  

In the end, Judge Roberts must demonstrate to the Senate that he is a worthy successor to Justice O'Connor.  To do that, he must win the confidence of the American people that he will be a reliable defender of their constitutional rights.  John Roberts has argued many cases in his career, but this is the most important.

Ever since Justice O'Connor announced her retirement I have called on the President to choose a nominee who can unite the country, not divide it.  It remains to be seen whether John Roberts fits that description.  I hope that he does, and I look forward to giving him the opportunity to make his case to the American people.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:51 AM PDT.

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