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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Roberts Confirmed as Supreme Court Justice

John Roberts was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this morning as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on a vote of 78-22. Click for a complete vote tally.

I note that most Dems who have their eyes on running for president voted no. NM Senator Jeff Bingaman voted yes. Perhaps the most surprising votes were a no by our Senate leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), a moderate Dem, and a much criticized yes by long-time liberal Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

What the vote tells me is that the Democrats in the Senate have no discipline or cohesiveness in terms of Party unity. What a stark contrast to Republicans, as we know. Many have touted the Democratic strategy on Roberts, such that it is, as "keeping our powder dry" so we might better fight against Bush's next nominee. We'll see. Personally, I'm wondering if Dems have any powder available for any battle as the opposition party. When was the last time this bunch stood up as a bloc and passionately defended core Democratic principles? Can you remember?

I know that we couldn't defeat Roberts with the Senate dominated by Republicans. But it seems to me that a yes vote for a candidate who refused to answer even the most rudimentary questions about his views and values represents a head-in-the-sand approach to governing. Remember, BushCo refused to hand over reams and reams of Roberts' record when he served in the solicitor general's office. The yes votes by Dems serve to communicate that that's just all right by them.

Dems Who Voted Yes on Roberts:

Yes Votes by Dems:

Baucus (MT)
Bingaman (NM)
Byrd (WV)
Carper (DE)
Conrad (ND)
Dodd (CT)
Dorgan (ND)
Feingold (WI)
Johnson (SD)
Kohl (WI)
Landrieu (LA)
Leahy (VT)
Levin (MI)
Lieberman (CT)
Lincoln (AR)
Murray (WA)
Nelson, Ben (NE)
Nelson, Bill (FL)
Pryor (AR)
Rockefeller (WV)
Salazar (CO)
Wyden (OR)

September 29, 2005 at 11:59 AM in Democratic Party | Permalink


Uh, sure, it's really a shame that some democrats vote they way they want and don't follow the wishes of their party like sheep but follow the wishes of their constituency and the people that voted for them. Looks to me like you feel we need fewer independent thinkers in Washington.

You asked when the last time was dems stood up as a bloc for democratic principles. How about social security privatization? Ring a bell?

Posted by: Michelle | Sep 29, 2005 1:31:08 PM

Yeah, I do recall Social Security privatization, and the Dem's stance. Of course they stuck together on that one -- even many Repubs couldn't stomach Bush's deceptions on that proposal. I'm talking about taking a stand as a bloc on an issue that has even a modicum of controvery attached to it, where it takes some courage and backbone to stand up for ordinary Americans.

Independent thinkers in the Party are one thing. However, allowing so many so-called Dems to cave on so many of the traditional core values of the Party is something else.

When you have Democrats voting for things like the incredibly short-sighted and unfair bankruptcy bill, the CAFTA bill crafted to give us more of the inequalities and injustices provided by NAFTA and voting for an inexperienced supreme court head justice who hides his record and may well oversee the overturning of Roe v. Wade, what kind of Party principles do we have?

I can at least understand the Dems deciding a filibuster against Roberts might not make sense. But to have so many Dems vote FOR his confirmation just boggles my mind. I guess all those anti-choice, right-wing voters will flock to Dems like Bingaman and Leahy now that they haven't "offended" them with a no vote on Roberts. Right.

Posted by: barb | Sep 29, 2005 2:25:30 PM

Didn't the Democrats vote on the basis that Roberts is "intelligent" and a "nice man" and "polite"? Isn't that enough when judging whether a supreme court justice is right for the job? LOL.

Posted by: Sully | Sep 29, 2005 3:16:59 PM

So, standing up for core priciples is most important in controversial subjects and the fact that they stand up for stuff all the time that's not controversial or in the press but represents core democratic principles is not as important?

Believe it or not, that social security issue was important and controversial and the GOP counted on dems dividing over it so Bush could push something through--and they didn't. What about stopping Medicaid cuts? Not important/controversial? What about the assault weapons ban? What about Head Start? These are all things the democrats around the nation are unified in fighting the Republicans on. That's why democrats vote for them.

I don't see how the Roberts vote "boggles the mind." Roberts received the 3rd most votes against him of anyone on the court. Requist got 33, Thomas got 48. 20 against this guy seems about right. Is this guy as bad a thomas or Renquist? honestly, No way, babe.

How many Dems voted against Scalia in 1986? 0.

Posted by: Michelle | Sep 29, 2005 3:32:59 PM

So are you the official apologist for spineless Dems now Michelle? I guess all the criticisms the Dems are getting from almost all quarters these days are just all baseless bitching. Haven't you heard and read the constant questions of what do the Democrats stand for?

OK, you say Roberts isn't as bad as Thomas and Renquist but I wonder how you know that. The paper record he left implies he is about as bad and the holes in the record mean he could well be as bad but we don't know it yet.

The one thing that Republicans know is that it's important to respect and motivate their base. On the other hand, too many Democrats believe their base in a hindrance to them being accepted by people who voted for Bush. Keep it up and the Dems won't have a base.

Piss off all the women's choice groups and minorities and poor people and working people and who are you left with? People who will vote for a real Republican instead of a pretend Republican every single time.

Posted by: Sully | Sep 29, 2005 6:21:49 PM

no, actually, I'm the person who focuses on beating Republicans, with whom we have our true differences.

The "progressives" are never satisfied. They love Feingold for his Iraq stance one day, curse him for his Roberts vote the next, same with Bob Byrd. If you base your entire interpretation of the democrats on 4 or 5 votes and ignore the hundreds cast for our issues, you just helping out the Republicans because that's what they want you to do--to divide us. Thanks for helping out.

And by the way, most of the democrats in the Congress and around the nation support increased limits on the aquisition on firearms. Does you hero Howard Dean? Nope. Most democrats accept him despite his bad stance on the NRA and gun control. By your standard, you should disown him.

Posted by: michelle | Sep 29, 2005 9:04:54 PM

I have to step in here and answer. Of course knowledgeable Dems will question how Dems vote, praise votes they agree with and criticize those they don't. Do the lobbyists and big money donors remain quiet when a politico votes against their interests? No. Would you expect them to? No. So why would you expect regular Dems to be quiet when they find a politician voting against their interests?

Your point of view seems to be that all Dems must praise Dem politicians regardless of how they vote, just to avoid being "devisive." If a Dem is voting like a Republican, supporting a Republican agenda, and refusing to speak truth to power on behalf of ordinary Dems, I certainly believe I have the right to point that out.

I don't "base my entire interpretation of the democrats on 4 or 5 votes." But I do note which Dems stand for the people consistently and proudly and which ones seem to fall prey to the go along to get along philosophy on controversial issues.

Of course I don't agree with Howard Dean on every issue. And when he takes a stand I don't agree with, I'll criticize him, just like I would any Dem politician. And then I will analyze the pros and cons of his views to come to a decision on whether I will support him or not. Just like with any politician. However, Dean is not in the Congress at the moment.

I don't divide us. The votes and strategies of Dems divide us. There is a fight going on for the heart and soul of the Party and it is based on issues and strategy and ethics. What the Dems have been doing is resulting in increasing losses -- in the Congress, the White House and in many state and local races. Rank and file Dems want a new approach, a winning approach, an approach that can make us proud to be Dems again. What you seem to suggest is that doing the same thing over and over will yield different results. As they say, that's the classic definition of insanity. Dems afraid to be real Dems aren't the answer.

Posted by: barb | Sep 30, 2005 9:48:20 AM

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