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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

The Roberts Squeeze

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 06, 2005

With Stakes Raised, Democrats Seek More Background on Nominee -- Boston Globe headline.

More background? His high school civics exams? Depositions from the nuns who taught him the Apostles' Creed? Laryngoscopy photos?

"Before the Senate acts on John Roberts's new nomination, we should know even more about his record," said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

You'd need a heart of stone not to laugh at this. Is there a three-week period of his inquisitors' lives that would past muster under the kind of scrutiny Roberts has undergone (so as to keep them out of the hands of the police, I mean, not to vet them for the Supreme Court)?

In The Tempting of America, Robert Bork recounts the routine vetting interview that Reagan's Counsel to the President, A.B. Culverhouse, conducted with him shortly after his nomination to the Supreme Court:

He had perhaps twenty questions that primarily concerned personal morality, questions about money, drugs, sex, wife or child abuse, and the like. It seemed characteristic of Washington that many of these transgressions had gained proper names, as in "Do you have the [name of a prominent person] problem?" After a number of questions, I said, "Look, I have had a very dull life." Culverhouse said, "Good. That's the way we like it."

We can be confident the name of the senior senator from Massachusetts did not appear in the Culverhouse roster, for the simple reason that "the Kennedy problem" fails to limit itself to a single notorious vice. Perhaps that's why he's spearheading the inquisition.

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