Speaking yesterday at the American Constitution Society's National Convention, Senator Charles Schumer said that the Senate was "duped" and "hoodwinked" by John Roberts' and Samuel Alito's confirmation hearing performances and explained that he would "do everything in [his] power to prevent" the confirmation of another justice like John Roberts or Samuel Alito. Here are some excerpts:
Although we have only experienced one full term with both Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court, it appears that we were not given the most accurate picture of the nominees we confirmed.
After hearing Roberts wax philosophic about judicial modesty at his confirmation hearings, and then reading his calculated decisions furtively defying stare decisis, I can only conclude that we were presented a misleading portrait.
And so, every day, I feel more comfortable with my vote against Chief Justice Roberts.
And every day, I am pained that I didn’t do more to try to block Justice Alito. Every two years, I look back and take stock of my greatest failings and regrets in the past Congress. Without question, my greatest regret in the 109th Congress was not doing more to block Alito. Alito shouldn’t have been confirmed. I should have done a better job; my colleagues said we didn’t have the votes, but I think we should have twisted more arms and done more. . . .
We now have the most conservative Supreme Court in memory. And, as everyone knows, the Justices who are – actuarially speaking – most likely to step down next are the liberal ones.
The Court is, interestingly, at odds with the country. As the Court grows more conservative, the rest of the nation is in the midst of a pendulum swing in the progressive direction.
Unless we are vigilant in our efforts to moderate the Court, that institution will stand in the way of a much-needed and long-overdue swing back to moderation. . . .
[F]or the rest of this President’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this:
We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts; or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.
Given the track record of this President and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings, with respect to the Supreme Court, at least: I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee EXCEPT in extraordinary circumstances.
They must prove by actions—not words—that they are in the mainstream, rather than the Senate proving that they are not.