(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Friday, May 02, 2003

Thanks to Juan Non-Volokh for responding to my post below, in which I took issue with some of his commentary. If he is defending his characterization of the defeat of Sessions's nomination as "obstruction" in a negative sense -- and I'm not sure he is -- I just can't agree, based on the record. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony -- some of which was undisputed by now-Sen. Sessions, and most or all of which was presumably found credible by the majority of the Committee (thus leading to the negative result on the nomination) -- that Sessions, while sitting as U.S. Attorney in Mobile, had said that he used to think that the Klan was ok until he found out that they smoked marijuana; that a white lawyer who represented Black people in voting rights cases was a disgrace to his race; that the NAACP was an unAmerican or anti-American organization; etc. If Non-Volokh is suggesting that Senatorial reliance on these points was a mask for ulterior motives that can fairly be called "obstruction" -- and again I'm not sure that he is -- I must disagree. That testimony was surely enough, in itself, to justify any reasonable Senator in opposing the nomination.

Non-Volokh also asks what else I found incorrect in his posting. Mostly, I was referring to his reference to Senate Democrats as having begun the pattern of "obstruction" (again with a bad connotation) in the Reagan era. He admitted, as I read his post, that this was in response to a dogged effort by the Reagan administration to nominate based on ideology, more so than had then-recent Administrations; but still he decried Senatorial response as some bad "obstructionism". I disagree; if a first cause must be identified for the so-called current spiral, then wouldn't it be more fair to place the blame on President Reagan's program of more ideological nominations?

posted by sam 12:14 PM 0 comments


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