Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One of the good guys is being a bad guy

I don't really have a theory of how Supreme Court nominees should be evaluated, but I'm pretty sure that it's not like this:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, was much less satisfied with the nominee's responses to questions about whether there is a "right to die."

"Do you think the Constitution encompasses a fundamental right for my father to conclude that he does not want to continue - he does not want to continue - on a life-support system?" Mr. Biden asked.

"Well, Senator," the judge replied, "I cannot answer that question in the abstract because - "

"That's not abstract," Mr. Biden interjected. "It's real."

Mr. Biden found the long back-and-forth less than illuminating, referring at one point to "this Kabuki dance we have in these hearings here, as if the public doesn't have a right to know what you think about fundamental issues facing them."

Of particular interest is the bold ontological assertion that abstract objects are not real. While there are certain moods in which I agree, I find Professor Biden's excursion into metaphysics to be a bit of a non-sequitor. That said, John Roberts' confirmation could well be such a disaster that it doesn't matter how bad the stated reasons for opposing him are. Paraphrasing a bit, I'd sooner confirm Godzilla than John Roberts.

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