Pre-emptive De-snarking

I'm going to generally try to avoid politics on this blog, but I thought I'd post this one item since it's a largely positive rather than a normative point.

As should be known by now, William Rhenquist died a few days ago. This leaves the Supreme Court with two vacancies and no Chief Justice. As a stopgap, President Bush is preparing to shift his nomination of John Roberts from a regular nomination to the Supreme Court to a nomination to the Chief Justice position. I get a vague sense that folks on the left are getting prepared to unleash a wave of snark, centered around the idea that this is rather a big promotion for someone who's only been a judge for a couple of years.

Before anyone does this, and I note Atrios has already fallen into the trap, remember: Earl Warren, one of the left's favorite Chief Justices, was appointed straight to the Chief Justice position with absolutely no magisterial experience whatsoever. He went from a private attorney to Alameda County District Attorney to California Attorney General to California Governor to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Roberts has undergone a similar trajectory, albeit as counsel to the White House under Reagan, and at least has a few years of experience on arguably the most significant sub-Supreme Court appellate court in the United States.

Which is not to say Roberts shouldn't be opposed on other grounds. I'm simply saying this to warn people that there's a very, very easy counter-argument to be made to this argument, and that the argument is somewhat weak to begin with. There are lots of good reasons to oppose Roberts's nomination to the Chief Justice position, but the experience issue isn't really one of them.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on September 5, 2005 11:17 AM.

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