Will Justice Roberts Speak Out on Politicalization of Confirmation Process?

A recent article notes that Justice Roberts has spoken out about the flawed Supreme Court confirmation process — all before Justice Scalia’s death. Some folks think he both should and will speak out now, given the dreadful deadlock occurring where the Republicans will not even entertain the nomination of Judge Garland. And, a more “perfect” candidate one could not find in terms of credentials, thoughtfully chosen by President Obama for just that reason. Judge Garland is “moderate,” well credentialed, older (recognizing then that his “lifetime” appointment is not for 40 years), and a consensus builder.

I think the likelihood of Justice Roberts speaking out is as likely as my winning the March Madness Men’s Basketball bracket this year. In the interest of full disclosure, I did win it once when I was in government (Kentucky won) and I was in the Rose Room for the celebration.

Now, let’s hope that I am wrong about Justice Robert’s speaking out. He would cement an extraordinary legacy were he to speak out. He would be clearly talking about the need for the judicial appointment process to be politically neutral. True, no appointment to any federal court is devoid of politics. And let’s not discuss here whether Justices decide apolitically when in office. But, a confirmation process that isn’t allowed to even begin is a non-process that violates the Constitution.

I wonder if in some sense this is belated payback for Judge Bork decades ago. Long held grudge and perhaps this is the way of noting that loudly. If true, Judge Garland is just a pawn in a large political game.

Justice Roberts could put a kibosh on that game — at least for now. The confirmation process is too important to be a political pawn.

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