Fool me once …

Volokh Conspirator (and GWU law prof) Orin Kerr on Chief Justice Robert’s partisanship:

… the recent frustration apparent among the four liberal Justices is partly the result of Roberts being much more party-line than many expected. Roberts cultivated an image as the principled minimalist, but last Term he consistently voted in a conservative direction. If a coin flip always comes up heads, after a while you’re gonna wonder about the coin. I would guess the liberal Justices began to think they’d been “had,” and their frustration at least partially reflects that.

Of course, it’s not only the liberal Justice who were “had.” It was the Democrats in the Senate who allowed a vote on Roberts’s confirmation, acting on his promise and the promise of the President that he would be the Chief Justice, not not an ideological or partisan hack.

There’s a lesson here. Not only is it true in general that if GWB’s lips are moving, he’s lying, it’s true in particular that when he says he’s nominating an honest judge he isn’t. Perhaps it was legitimate to take Bush’s word for it the first time. But now that we know, and now that Democrats control the Senate, the only responsible action from here on out is to refuse hearings to all judicial nominees until January 21, 2009.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com